The new year kicked off with high expectations, but many soon found themselves battling the possibly worst case of the flu in years. A decade to be exact. It has been reported that 41 states are now confirming the flu has hit home. So far, 18 children have perished due to this year's flu epidemic with hundreds of children and adults being hospitalized. Dr. David Rosenberg told Good Morning America that this year, the flu is worse than it ever has been and admissions an all time high to nationwide hospitals. While many are quick to suspect an unidentified strain of the flu wreaking such havoc, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is quick to jump in and assure everyone that this flu strain is common and not some rogue strain of the illness.
It is only sensible that we protect ourselves from this onslaught, but many don't realize how this is done, leaving themselves in the hands of the flu germs circulating through homes, schools and offices nationwide. The CDC is first to recommend that citizens obtain a flu shot at their doctor's office. The flu shot is said to help shorten duration of the illness and severity, although it won't prevent the flu 100%. High-risk groups such as children and the elderly are the focus of this recommendation, although the flu this year has been hitting young adults and middle age adults just as bad. Treatment for those suffering the flu is also surrounding the recently released, Tamiflu. Tamiflu is mainly used with patients who are experiencing hospital stays due to complications from influenza type A and B viruses. This includes respiratory complications that could quickly turn to pneumonia, although Tamiflu is not recommended for prevention of pneumonia.
According to Accuweather.com, there was a 60% increase in positive flu tests in the last portion of December. January is known to be when the flu seems to peak before subsiding and leaving chances of contracting the illness lower. So, what are doctor's recommending besides the flu shot? Take care of yourself. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, get plenty of rest to allow your body to fight off the illness, treat fever with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and stay at home to prevent spreading the flu to others. If your fever fails to break or your symptoms do not improve within 48 hours, consider seeing your doctor.
With this year's outbreak, its imperative to practice prevention methods as well. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, use antibacterial hand gels after coming in contact with other people and cover public surfaces such as grocery buggys, changing tables and toilet seats. You can never be too careful when it comes to your health.