This Flu Season is a Record Breaker
Unfortunately, it’s looking like this flu season is already a record breaker. We are now entering the 21st week of the flu season, based on the weekly flu report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This now marks this season as being one week longer than the previous 10-year high, which occurred in the 2014-2015 season.
The flu season typically begins in the fall and ends in the spring. Flu activity is declining, with 11 states still reporting widespread influenza, compared to the 20 states from the previous week. Thankfully, this season seems to be less severe than the 2017-18, which is thought to be one of the most severe flu seasons in recent years, with more than 80,000 flu-related deaths.
There have been an estimated 36 million cases of influenza this season alone, with an estimated 57,300 deaths caused by flu-related symptoms. 91 children are among these deaths, as reported by the CDC.
Hospitals have seen an enormous surge of patients checked in with influenza-related symptoms. This figure ranges from 600,000+, with the overall hospitalization rate for just this month totaling 62 people out of every 10,000. People 65 years and older had higher rates of hospitalization.
In San Diego, a variant strain of the flu called H3N2 has been seen throughout the county. This strain is said to be different from what we saw last year, though the symptoms are similar in that it causes onset fever, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
Eric McDonald, M.D., medical director of epidemiology for the county of San Diego told KPBS News, “With cases that are likely to extend for another couple of months, it makes sense to get a flu shot.”
Treatment of influenza typically begins with a prescription of antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, especially for those who are at a high risk of developing serious conditions like pneumonia, sinus infections, or bronchitis – all the leading causes of death from contracting influenza.