Flu patients are flooding clinics. The CDC reports no sign of a peak for this year’s early and intense flu season in which the numbers are startlingly higher than recent past years.
“I think we’re still accelerating,” said Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman speaking with NBC News. Twenty-nine states reported high levels of flu activity, up from 16 states the previous week. Flu was widespread in 41 states, up from 31 states, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over at Google Flu Trends, which monitors flu activity in the U.S. and around the world, this year’s season has already topped the bright-red “intense” category.
The ‘Flu Near You’ map clearly shows the extent of flu in the United States.
The dominant strain this year is the H3N2 strain, which can cause more serious illness. Flu seasons can vary widely, but some years are severe, with hospitalizations of up to 200,000 people and between 3,000 and 49,000 deaths during a season.
Preventing the flu is fairly easy, however the lifestyle we live in our modern world is making the easy solution much more difficult.
To prevent the flu,
You simply must stay away from people who are sick.
Wash your hands frequently, especially after being out in public. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car to use immediately after exiting a public place.
DO NOT touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your fingers while you are out in public having handled or touched surfaces. If you have happened upon a surface where the virus lies, just ONE touch to the eyes, nose or mouth and you’ve got it.
The biggest problem with the flu spreading
…are the people who go to work or go out in public while they are sick. If you are sick… please, STAY HOME. Please do not spread it to the rest of us. In today’s busy world, this is often hard to rationalize, but it is the most effective way to stop the spread.
Unfortunately, it appears that quite a number of people still go to work while sick and spread it to others. I have personally been afflicted a number of times during my previous career while my boss (who sat in the cubicle next to me) would come to work while obviously sick. Despite efforts to stay away, invariably I (and others) would catch it. It wasn’t just him either… there were many others who did this. I’m sure that you too can give examples of your own experiences with people at work. Just be aware and look for signs… and stay away from them! Wash your hands often while at work.
While in the grocery store or other public places, look for signs of people who are sick. Stay well away from coughing or sneezing people. One inhalation of the invisible coughed particles will get you…
Getting the flu is miserable. This year 2012-2013 looks especially bad. Be aware. Be prepared.