Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in the CDC's Influenza Division is reporting that hospitalizations and the number of people seeking treatment for flu-like illnesses is abnormally high for residents in Virginia and elsewhere this year.
With the numbers of people seeking treatment at more than double the past four weeks, this means the flu season is still peaking and this is all the more reason to seek preventative measures, especially by getting the flu vaccine.
Doctors say the mistake many people make is not getting the flu shot in the first place, and they may be further mistaken in thinking it is too far into the flu season for a vaccine to matter. Anyone who has not had the flu vaccine should still get it. Dr. Joe Bresee also said,
"People who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms, regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. Also, you don't need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals."
The CDC also points out the necessity of a person getting the flu vaccine every year. This is because the flu virus is constantly changing, or mutating. The current vaccines even now only contain about 91 percent of the known flu viruses.
Tamiflu and Relenza are effective medicines to treat influenza at its onset, and it is recommended people seek treatment as soon as possible if they become ill with the flu. This is especially important if someone has not had the vaccine, or if someone is suffering from a chronic illness.