This year’s flu season is said to be the worst on record in years, with the threat of the flu spreading across 47 states every cough, sneeze, and runny nose feels like a warning shot and threat to your health.
If you haven’t received the flu vaccination yet like so many others you are most likely scrambling to get flu shots where they’re available. It’s not uncommon to see hospitals and clinics suddenly packed with patients suffering from flu like symptoms, and pharmacies having a hard keeping their shelves stocked with antibiotics for those affected.
Although the Center for Disease Control believes that the spread of the flu has slowed in some areas, numerous states are still reporting high levels of symptoms and activity.
A typical flu season normally lasts about three months, and with our current season we have yet to hit the half way mark. This seasons flu activity is so unpredictable, officials won’t know for another week or two if the outbreak has even peaked.
Twenty-four states including New York City are now reporting high ILI activity. Last week 29 states reported high ILI activity. Additionally, 16 are reporting moderate levels of ILI activity; an increase from 9 states in the prior week. States reporting high ILI activity for the week ending January 5, 2013 include Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia
The Center for Disease Control estimates yearly flu outbreaks cost employers about $10.4 billion in direct costs of health care and absenteeism, with this season’s epidemic likely to produce a much higher dollar amount.
The thing to remember is that if you haven’t fallen victim to it yet this flu season, don’t by any means think you’re immune. By taking simple preventative actions to stop the spread of germs by covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and trying to avoid close contact with infected people. The CDC also recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. If you do develop flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. While sick, make sure you limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
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