Doctor: “Flu Is Everywhere in the U.S. Right Now”
In its latest weekly report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported widespread flu in every state except Hawaii.
“Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” Dr. Dan Jernigan, the director the CDC’s influenza branch, told WTVR-TV in Richmond, Virginia. “This is the first year we’ve had the entire continental U.S. at the same level (of flu activity) at the same time.”
Experts are hoping that this is an early peak of the flu season, which on average doesn’t occur until about the third week in February. That could be a small consolation for a season that has already had over 60,000 confirmed cases of influenza. The H3N2 strain, a form of influenza A, is being blamed for the most severe outbreak since 2014-15.
“(The H3N2) tends to produce more severe disease, particularly among older persons,” infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner told WTVR. “Doctors’ offices, clinics, and emergency rooms all over the country are feeling the H3N2 impact right now.”
While this year’s flu shot has not been as effective as desired, doctors are still highly recommending the vaccination, as well as frequent handwashing, as the most effective ways to protect your family.
“It’s true there is some decreased effectiveness this year,” said Gonzalo Bearman, a doctor at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond. “However, you still get some benefits. Although you may be vaccinated and still get infected, you will have a less severe form of influenza and prevent complications such as pneumonia or even hospitalization.”
For other ideas to keep you homeschool family healthy this flu season, check out this common sense checklist compiled by Alpha Omega Publications.