Current Flu Season is the Worst in Decades
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that the current flu season is on track to be the worst flu season in four decades. In contrast to previous seasons, this one started much earlier and peaked faster than usual.
Flu season peaks in early February. But by mid-December, the CDC had recorded 1.7 million cases across the U.S. In their report of last week, that number had increased to 6.4 million flu illnesses. Experts estimate that December may have been the peak of the virus.
To date, the current flu season has caused 2900 deaths nationwide, including 27 children. This week in Manitoba, Canada, an otherwise healthy 17-year old died from complications from the flu. In another case, a 24-year old with asthma died from contracting the virus. The CDC report states that flu activity is currently high and is widespread in all but 5 states.
Unlike the previous flu season, the “B” strain of the virus has been more prevalent this time, which is unusual for this stage in the season. The “B” virus is being diagnosed more often in younger patients while the “A” virus has been more common among those over the age of 65.
Scientists at the University of Arizona published a new report explaining immunological imprinting: People exposed to H1N1 and/or H3N2 strains of the flu as children are less likely to be hospitalized and are better protected against those same strains in adulthood. The immune system lays down an imprint that better protects the body against strains of the same type. This revelation does not help against different strains of the flu, which is why the flu vaccine continues to be the best method of prevention. Scientists hope that this particular study will lead to more specific use of flu vaccines in the future, based on each person’s medical history.
The CDC reports that the 2018-2019 influenza vaccination had a 47% efficacy rate. That means it was one of the most effective vaccinations against the flu to date. The vaccine for the current flu season better reflects currently circulating viruses. While it is best to get your flu shot early in the season, it is never too late to get the vaccination.
Prevention is Key
- Wipe down surfaces in your home, car and workspace often.
- Avoid places where you know people are or have recently been sick.
- Keep your nose and throat clean as this is where viruses attach. Rinse out your sinuses with a saline solution or a netti-pot. Use a natural throat spray and consider a humidifier for your bedroom at night.
- Strengthen your immune system with adequate sleep and superfoods, such as vitamin-C and vitamin-D rich foods and zinc.
- Elevate your body temperature a couple of times a week by using a sauna. Studies show that elevating your temperature can decrease illnesses and offers detoxification properties.
- Get your flu shot – it is never too late.
You can count on Midland Health for your customized, flexible, affordable on-site flu shot clinic that meets your needs. Midland has provided clinics for hundreds of employers over the last decade. Midland has the logistics, processes and resources in place to ensure your nation-wide success. Midland is also nationally approved for Medicare, and offers on-site flu shot services to senior living and intermediate care facilities. Click here for a free quote.