According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season is upon us and it has come early this year. The areas that are the worst hit right now are the South and West.
This doesn’t mean that it is going to be a bad season, but it gives us some clues that the season will be harsh. The flu season in Australia, a good sign of what is to come in the Northern Hemisphere, came in earlier than expected and was quite harsh. The CDC reported that five states have been hit by large scale flu viral – Alabama, California, Louisiana, Nevada, and South Carolina. Last year at this time, no states showed flu activity.
Additionally, high levels of flu also were reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas, and also Puerto Rico.
Nationally, flu activity has crossed the baseline for the first time in the season. Flu activity is measured by analyzing the number of people making doctor’s visits for flu-like illnesses. 2.5% of visits made to the doctors this week have been for these illnesses, which is .1% more than the baseline.
Four children have already died this season.
Although the flu is already picking up, it still is not too late to get a flu shot. The CDC has said that this might be the best time to be vaccinated and to avoid serious complications. This year, the standard flu shot will include protection against diseases such as a number of strains of influenza, H1N1, H3N2, and B/Victoria virus.
As far as this year goes, the Victoria virus is the most common strain of flu detected, after which it is H1N1, and then H3N2. The Victoria strain is more common in children and the others in adults over the age of 65.