On December 30, 2013, ABC News reported on a weekly Centers for Disease Control report which has confirmed widespread flu activity over the past week. Dr. William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, said, "It's our old friend Swine Flu and it's causing over 95 percent of the cases. There is a lot of flu going on right now. Philadelphia has been reporting a substantial amount and it's gaining steam and moving across the country."
The CDC reports widespread outbreaks of flu in the Southeast; outbreaks that have not been seen at this level in four years and are spreading quickly. States reporting significant outbreaks include Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
According to the CDC report, flu is sickening young adults the most, with many requiring hospitalization for serious disease; some requiring treatment in intensive care units. The CDC is working with both state and local health officials to maximize disease control efforts, as well as closely monitoring changes in the severity of the disease which could indicate the mutation of the virus, Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 (PH1N1). Flu shots are recommended by the CDC for everyone over six months of age.
Influenza attacks the respiratory system, causing symptoms which include chills, fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough.Individuals at risk for complications from flu include children, seniors and those with compromised immune systems or chronic disease. Flu is highly contagious and easily spread from one person to another; both from air-born spreading through a cough or sneeze, as well as the virus lingering on hard surfaces such as a table or door knob which are then touched and the virus picked up.
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your healthcare professional right away. Swine flu can be confirmed by a swab test done in your doctor's office. If you are ill, do not go to work or any place where there are others that you could spread the virus to. Wash your hands often, drink plenty of fluids and follow your doctor's instructions to avoid prolonged illness or complications.