The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information today that the flu has slowed in five states in the South and Southeast. But even with this good news, a National Institutes of Health director warned of the onset of "a classic flu epidemic,” in an interview with CNN.
As the flu becomes more and more widespread, Tamiflu is becoming harder to come by, but that does not mean you should stop looking for it. This flu-season is leaving its mark, and it is important that each of us take it seriously.
Recently two Ohio residents have died from complications of the flu, including a 22-year-old woman from Kettering, OH who was a Wright State University student, and a young child, who the Ohio Department of Health would not share the county in which the child lived, or the child’s age or gender.
Nationally, the flu is already widespread in more than 40 states, and while not officially labeled an epidemic as-of-yet, the flu has been blamed with the deaths of 20 children so far. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate about 24,000 Americans die each year from the Flu, but the exact number is not known because the CDC only keeps numbers on children, and not adults. Most flu patients should not go to an emergency room, because there is very little that can be done for them.
Patients with normal flu symptoms should get a lot of rest and take painkillers to help with muscle aches. A fever of 103 degrees is common with the flu. There are scenarios in which it is necessary to go to the hospital. If a patient is short of breath or can't keep fluids down, immediate attention is needed. Dehydration is a serious concern, and should be treated immediately. While receiving a flu shot while you're healthy doesn’t guarantee protection from the flu, it is your best bet in staying healthy.
As of December 31, 2011, 71 Influenza-associated hospitalizations had been reported to the Ohio Department of Health. In 2012 - 1,230 such hospitalizations had already been reported by that time.
If you think you have the flu stay away from others as much as possible to keep from spreading the disease. If you must leave home, wear a face-mask if you have one, and coughs and sneezes with a tissue. The best tip, whether you are sick or healthy is to be vigilant in washing your hands.