Earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control reported that they expect at least 100 more child flu-related deaths before the season is through. Director of the CDC’s Influenza’s Division, Dr. Dan Jernigan, stated that the pediatric death toll is somewhere around 80 and could reach as high as 150 by the end of March.
According to Daily Mail, about 11 schools closed down to disinfect buildings and quarantine the children at home.
The rate of flu-like illness is higher than it’s been since 2009. There have been a total of 86,527 reported cases and 11,965 hospitalizations for the flu. This year’s flu seems to be a resurgence of a strain that appeared in 2014-12015 called the H3N2 subtype of influenza A, according to CNN.
“We tend to forget very rapidly the impact that influenza has on our communities, and we often times have flu seasons just as intense as this one, but we forget it,” Dr. Pedro Piedraprofessor of molecular virology and microbiology and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston told CNN.
“Every so often — it’s really like every other year to every third year — where we have a flu season that is intense. We are reminded about the number of deaths that we see, about the number of hospitalizations, the number of outpatient visits, but this happens.”
Experts say that it’s not too late to get a flu shot.
“Even if you get the flu, having received the flu vaccine may help you in terms of not having as serious a course or as devastating a course,” Dr. Patricia Whitley-Williams, professor and chief of the division of pediatric allergy, immunology, and infectious diseases at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey said. “It may prevent you from being hospitalized if you have received a vaccine, so there is still that benefit in some cases.”
Those who are at a greater risk for complications due to the flu are those who are pregnant, over 65, and under the age of 5.
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The CDC also makes the following recommendations for avoiding and spreading the flu:
- Avoid close contact, especially with those who are sick. Avoid others if you feel sick.
- Stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading the illness to others.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to prevent contamination.
- Practice good health habits and avoid touching surfaces, sleep well, stay physically active, manage stress, drink lots of water, and eat healthy foods.
You can learn more about influenza here.
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