The flu, or influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory virus caused by one of three different virus types: influenza A, B, or C. The primary way illnesses like colds and the flu spread from person to person is through the droplets that sick people expel when they cough and sneeze. You can also get the flu by exposure to saliva passed by contact, such as kissing or sharing eating utensils. Sometimes people get the flu because they touch an object or surface with flu virus on it, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.
As we inch closer to cold and flu season in the United States, the collision of COVID-19 and the flu seems inevitable. How severe the flu / COVID-19 season will be is still hotly debated. On the one hand, you have nearly 1 million flu-related hospitalizations during a non-pandemic year. On the other hand, the preventative measures and changes in behavior used to fight COVID-19 could help lessen the seasonal flu's impact.
With 45,171 confirmed cases and the death toll rising over 1,100, the virus recently named COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China continues to be a growing concern globally. China recorded a new daily record of 97 deaths, among the deaths included the first U.S citizen. In Japan, health officials have placed a 14-day quarantine on the Diamond Cruise ship carrying over 3,000 people. Officials confirm over 130 cases of COVID-19 were found aboard the vessel and are continuing to test individuals exhibiting any symptoms. Here in the United States, there are 13 confirmed cases of the virus.
In addition to monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, health officials are monitoring flu activity in the United States. The flu has swept through hospitals across the nation. This season ramps up to be one of the worst in history.
The flu season began early with the Influenza B as the predominant strain of the virus. Typically Influenza B is the dominant strain in the spring during the second half of flu season. Unfortunately, this strain can harm children more than the Influenza A strain, with 78 pediatrics deaths reported by the CDC for the season so far.
This season's flu shot might be less effective because of the unexpected Influenza B cases. The flu shot is created every year by experts who try to predict the dominant strains for the season. Since this year was an unexpected strain, the vaccine might not protect as well. The flu shot is still an essential part of illness prevention even on years that it does not perform as well, but this emphasizes the additional need for hand hygiene.
While the rise of COVID-19 across the globe has become a Public Health Emergency of international concern, the flu still poses an immediate threat to the United States. So far this season, there have been at least 22 million flu cases, 210,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 deaths. These numbers confirm the necessity for people to be vigilant about avoiding these respiratory illnesses.
The recommendations for preventing respiratory diseases like the flu and COVID-19 include maintaining proper hand hygiene by frequently washing with soap and water as well as using alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. It is also essential to regularly disinfect surfaces in high traffic areas with a surface disinfectant to prevent viruses from spreading.
Flu season has arrived in the US, and it is one of the most severe outbreaks in recent history. This year the dominant strain is the Influenza B strain named Victoria, and health experts are saying this could be one of the most severe flu seasons in decades. The Victoria/B strain is especially harmful towards children, and the shot is only 58% effective against this strain. These numbers are especially scary for parents whose kids are in environments like schools where germs spread rapidly. The flu has a pretty quick incubation period with an average time to symptoms of two days.
Flu season is here, and with it comes people who are unaware that their hand hygiene habits may not protect them from the influenza virus. This year the virus has been extraordinarily volatile, and deaths have increased by 65%. So far, there have been a reported 9.7 million people infected with a strain of uncommon Influenza B, a reported 87,000 have been hospitalized, and 4,800 have died. The strain is usually most common in children ages 0-4, and it hits them the hardest. Nevertheless, this year Influenza B is prevalent in most other age groups. According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate is 14.6 per 100,000 people. This strain of flu is unusual this time of year and a mismatch for the strains protected by the influenza vaccine. The CDC says that if a child is exposed to the current Victoria/B strain, there is only a 58% chance the vaccine will be effective. Hence, with a sub-par vaccine, it is crucial to maintain proper infection control techniques to minimize your risk of infection.
The 2019-2020 flu season in the United States has been off to a fast and hard-hitting start with 6.4 million cases of Influenza already and 2,900 deaths from influenza. This season has been particularly strange since the dominant strain is Influenza B this season. Influenza B usually does not create large outbreaks like this is doing so it is very different from what anyone could’ve anticipated.
Every year people want to know approaching flu season how effective the flu vaccination will be and how severe of a flu season it will likely be as well. At this point in the season, as we have yet to reach the peak of flu season, the prediction is that it will not be as severe of a season as it was last year, which was one of the highest severities of flu seasons in many years.
How many times have we pushed off the first signs of illness only for it to emerge as the flu? What happens next varies from person to person. Some people are bedridden, others attempt to work through the illness, and in some severe cases, the flu claims their life. The flu isn’t a disease to take lightly, and the 2017 – 2018 season has been a bad one compared to years past.
For most people, it is easy to forget about the flu when scares about different diseases are plastered all over the news media. However, the flu remains one of the most deadly diseases to ravage our country every year. The flu generally doesn’t kill; it’s complications that arise that lead to death. Let’s dive in and take a look at how this illness can lead to death.
Last year was one of the worst flu seasons in years with thousands of Americans dying from influenza or pneumonia. 100 years ago was the pandemic of 1918 and it claimed the lives of 670,000 American men, women, and children and as many as 50 to 100 million people worldwide. Due to this deadly outbreak, medical researchers learned the importance of getting vaccinated.