No matter who you are no one likes the flu. I always think of it like they describe the spring in like a lion and out like a lamb except most times it’s the other way around. Every year we as a nation prepare for flu season in many different ways but the common thread is that we prepare. This year, 2013, is no different we have to prepare and prevent. Children are dying nationwide and reported cases are higher than normal. What can you do? Of course there are many things we can do and you will see a list below shortly. But the very first thing you can do is protect yourself and your loved ones. Then extend that same concern to all around you neighbors, friendly acquaintances, etc. Of course this is only a small token of what you can do. Keep reading to find out more and also find out what’s been going on across the nation. Here in Alabama, flu cases have skyrocketed. But remember no matter the area you live in the responsibility to protect and prevent is on all of us.
Statistics on The Outbreak:
2012-2013 Influenza Season Week 1 ending January 5, 2013
As a result of the end of year holidays and elevated influenza activity, some sites may be experiencing longer than normal reporting delays and data in previous weeks are likely to change as additional reports are received.
During week 1 (December 30-January 5), influenza activity remained elevated in the U.S., but may be decreasing in some areas.
o Viral Surveillance: Of 12,876 specimens tested and reported by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories, 4,222 (32.8%) were positive for influenza.
o Pneumonia and Influenza Mortality: The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was slightly above the epidemic threshold.
o Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths: Two influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported. One was associated with an influenza A (H3) virus and one was associated with an influenza A virus for which the subtype was not determined.
o Outpatient Illness Surveillance: The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was 4.3%; above the national baseline of 2.2%. Nine of 10 regions reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels. Twenty-four states and New York City experienced high ILI activity; 16 states experienced moderate ILI activity; 5 states experienced low ILI activity; 5 states experienced minimal ILI activity, and the District of Columbia had insufficient data.
o Geographic Spread of Influenza: Forty-seven states reported widespread geographic influenza activity; 2 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia reported local activity; 1 state reported sporadic activity; Guam reported no influenza activity, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not report.
A description of surveillance methods is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm
CDC says “Take 3” Actions to fight the flu:
1) Take time to get a flu vaccine.
• CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
2) Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
3) Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
• If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
• Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.