Flu cases near record levels as patients pack emergency rooms

How To Prevent The Flu: Dr. Bill Miller Talks Infectious Diseases, Influenza, Epidemics

Flu activity is now widespread in 48 states and Puerto Rico, according to the CDC's most recent weekly report. That brings the nationwide number of child flu-related deaths to 53. It said hospitalization rates for the flu are the highest since such figures began being tracked in 2010.

"We have not hit our peak yet, unfortunately", said Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the CDC said Friday at a press conference. "People who get the flu shot are more likely to get the flu because the virus is actually going into them". Friday's report covers the week ending January 27.

The Department for Public Health says at least four of those 100 deaths have been children. That is up from a total of 25 last week. Adults aged 65 or older had the most hospitalisations, followed by those aged 50 to 64, and children below five. Another problem lies with the inefficiencies a surge in flu patients creates since many first visit the emergency department, creating longer wait times.

About 150 pediatric flu cases per day is what doctors at Children's Hospital have been dealing with.

Two stateline counties report flu-related deaths and flu season doesn't appear to be peaking anytime soon.

"I would say to parents please don't panic", Salinas said in a phone interview.

And that's why the CDC really wants you to consider getting the flu shot if you haven't already done so.

Whatever the reason, "it's a whopper of a flu season", said Mimi Dreifuss, a North Carolina nurse who got sick this week.

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The Massachusetts Democrat said the deadly flu season shows the need for a better vaccine.

To put the findings in context, a 10 per cent vaccine effectiveness for H3N2 means that if 10 in 100 people who had not been vaccinated came down with that strain of the flu, then nine in 100 people who did get a jab in the arm would still get sick, she explained.

Circulating virus strains included both B strains (Yamagata and Victoria), H1N1 and H3N2, according to the CDC. There are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu during a bad year.

At this time past year, there had been just two deaths associated with the flu in Georgia.

The North Central Health District has urged people with flulike symptoms - fever, chills, sore throat, coughing, stuffy or runny nose, body and muscle aches, headache and fatigue - to contact their medical provider right away to get a prescription for Tamiflu, which can help prevent the spread of the flu virus in the body.

"On average we have seen 20 students or so with flu-like symptoms this week alone", said Jay Cutspec, director of the Health and Counseling Center.

It is not the only flu strain circulating. The rate is considered the best barometer of the severity of a flu season. "But not every child is testing positive for the flu".

Offer plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration - soft fruits, blended frozen juice drinks, and ice pops can also be given if your child gets exhausted of water.

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