Seasonal influenza is now widespread across the continental United States, causing severe illness and rising numbers of hospitalisations, but this year's outbreak may be peaking, government health officials said on Friday.
Public health officials continued to press the public to get flu shots, saying it wasn't too late, and that the vaccine offered flawless protection against three of the four strains. "Every individual over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine - not just for their own protection, but to protect others around them who may be more vulnerable to the flu and its complications". The DPH said 70 percent of all patients hospitalized with the flu this season have been age 65 and older.
But recently there's been an uptick in activity by another influenza A virus, H1N1, Jernigan said, warning that even if the season appears to have peaked, flu viruses will circulate for weeks to come and people should continue to take precautions against getting infected. H3N2-dominant flu seasons are associated with more severe illness, especially among children and older adults.
"Once you start knowing that you're having the high fevers, and fatigue, and body aches along with the sore throat and cough, it's always a good idea to contact your doctor sooner because there are some medications that can be given", he said.
Influenza B has shown up early, with hospitals already dealing with the "A" type, which is more common at this time of year.
It is never too late to get a flu shot to prevent influenza. "This is the normal seasonal flu that we typically see". Norman Taylor of Mulberry Medical Associates has seen a number of patients with the flu.
Beside receiving the vaccine, the best ways to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands often, make sure you cough and sneeze into your arm and stay at home from school or work if you are sick.
According to the latest flu report from the IDPH, about 230 people have been hospitalized due to the flu since October 1, 2017. The onset of symptoms is sudden and people should stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care. We have more than 1,000 people that have tested positive for influenza, and we also have fifteen deaths so far in CT.