There is a new flu virus or influenza virus that is spreading across the entire United States at a record breaking speed. Insights of this epidemic from KWTV Channel 9 News on Jan. 10 were reported to be so severe that deaths from this illness were reported. The Alabama newspaper, AL.com, covering Clarke County on Jan. 2 stated many states are victim of this widespread illness.
The new strain of flu that is circulating is called H3N2. It is a form of the influenza A virus. This particular strain is pandemic and more severe than the H1N1 virus that spread a few years back.
Currently eight people have died from this particular virus strain in Oklahoma. There have also been reports that at least 345 others from this state were hospitalized with severe symptoms from the flu. Market Maps provides additional statistics on Jan 10 that quite scary. A state of emergency was declared in Boston, Mass. Due to the massive increase in infections from influenza in the past few days. The state of Missouri reported a 1,800 percent increase in positive flu tests according to the Department of Health. The Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Ala. is receiving about 20 cases per day of infected people in their emergency room.
The flu season for the south, including the state of Alabama started earlier this year than in the past. This particular strain of the virus, H3N2 has peaked and high flu activity is being reported across the nation. The states that have been hit the hardest are: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had reports of flu cases in 41 states which include flu-related deaths of 18 children thus far. Children and the elderly are at the highest risk for catching the flu.
Flu symptoms consist of high fevers, sore throat and coughing that is usually dry making it difficult for many to catch their breath. Some may experience chills, muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea as well as a runny or stuffy nose.
Tell tale signs that a trip to the emergency room is required is when those exposed to this virus stain have difficulty breathing, get a discoloration to their lips that is either blue or purple in color, uncomfortable pains in the chest and abdominal areas, a cough that gets worse as the days continue and persistent or severe vomiting.
Public health officials in many areas are advising people to get the flu shot. The flu vaccine is the most important thing that you can do to protect yourself against the flu. Many people may have symptoms of this flu or a totally different strain. It isn’t too late to get vaccinated for the current flu shot is well-matched to the various strains that have be exposed to the public.
© 2013 Beverly Mucha / All Rights Reserved
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