Just like Christmas and every other holiday in the calendar year you can count on the flu showing up. The flu outbreak this year started early and has already spread across the United States particularly in the south and southeast. Every year an average of 36,000 people die from the flu a year according to NBC News.
The current strain of flu going around this year is H3N2 (influenza A). Individuals and families alike have been getting their annual flu shot. Nowadays it’s easier to obtain a flu shot. Consumers have the convenience now of going to local drug stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid, or CVS to name a few. The CDC and other health professionals advise people to still get vaccinated even though the flu season has already started. Bare in mind, those who receive a flu shot are not guaranteed immunity from H3N2.
In Georgia the flu has progressed from sporadic cases in October 2012 to widespread cases throughout the state by December 2012 according to the Georgia Department Of Public Health. There has only been one flu related death in Georgia this flu season, however, reports show that the top two age groups that have visited a hospital or medical facility are children four and under, and 5-24 year olds. After a recent visit to Piedmont Hospital on Peachtree Rd., Stephanee Pinkney of the Greater Atlanta Area and owner of Old Man Pops Popcorn had to wait several hours to obtain a hospital bed because ‘apparently flu season has really taken them by storm and they are having to admit people because of dehydration and high fevers’. Typically doctors warn against individuals coming to the hospital unless symptoms are severe in order to avoid further spreading the virus.
Parents if you are worried about your child contracting the flu you should consider the flu shot. Children can receive the shot as early as 6 months of age. One key defense to staying away from the flu this season is to wash your hands frequently. Contact your pediatrician if you believe your child is showing signs of the flu. For further information on the flu and its symptoms, check out the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website.