This Year’s Deadly Flu Season
February 5, 2018 | Napoli Shkolnik News
Most people have contracted the flu at some point in their life, or cared for a sick loved one with the flu at the very least. After all, there is a flu season every year in the United States. In most cases, however, most people can escape the worst effects of the flu via vaccine, and those who are not vaccinated and do contract the flu usually recuperate from symptoms within a few days’ time.
This year, however, the flu season is particularly deadly. In fact, an article published on February 2, 2018 by The Washington Post explains that this year’s flu season is already the “most widespread on record,” and that more people have been hospitalized this year than over the past decade. Most tragic, this year’s flu season has already killed a number of adults and children – more than five dozen children have died.
Understanding the flu, and why this year is so deadly, is important for protecting your health and the health of your loved ones. Here’s a look into what’s going on with 2018’s fatal flu:
What’s So Dangerous About this Year’s Flu?
There are a number of reasons why the flu this year is more deadly and dangerous than it’s been in previous years. These include:
- H3N2 – H3N2 is the name of this year’s flu strain, a strain that virologists, scientists, and those in the medical community all particularly dislike. Indeed, the H3N2 strain is one of the strain’s that is able to adapt the quickest, making it adept at navigating the human immune system. This strain also leads to two outbreaks of influenza A viruses, and two types of influenza B viruses.
- Timing – Another reason that the flu season is particularly devastating this year is based on the amount of time it’s had to do damage. As opposed to other years, the flu season started earlier than normal, which means fewer people were prepared with vaccines.
- Vaccine effectiveness (or lack thereof) – Another issue with the flu in 2018 is that this year’s flu vaccine isn’t very effective (flu vaccines in general are typically less effective than other vaccines). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that the flu vaccine only reduces the risk of flu illness by about 40 to 60 percent.
Who’s Most at Risk?
Some people are more at risk of developing the flu than others. Those who are most at risk include children (especially young children who are too young to receive a flu vaccine), adults who are older than 65, pregnant women, those who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and those with certain medical conditions, including weakened immune systems, metabolic disorders, asthma, heart disease, and more.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones Against the Flu?
It is important that you understand steps that can be taken to protect yourself, your loved ones, and others in your community against the flu. The CDC strongly recommends that all persons receive a flu vaccine, even if you are not in a high-risk group (by getting vaccinated, you can help to protect others, including those who are ineligible for the flu vaccine). Practicing good personal hygiene, washing your hands regularly, and staying home if you do contract the flu are all recommended as well.
If you do develop any flu-like symptoms, which include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and muscle and body aches, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible. You should also strongly consider getting medical care, as your doctor may be able to recommend antiviral drug treatments. In most cases, symptoms should take no longer than two weeks to clear up completely.
Stay Ahead of the Flu
This year’s flu season is dangerous, and staying ahead of the flu with healthy habits and getting a vaccination is important. At the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we will be watching the flu closely throughout the rest of the 2018 season, and sincerely hope that your family stays healthy this year.
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