Flu cases on rise during past 2 weeks

Image Vials of flu vaccine

Get vaccinated. Get the seasonal flu vaccines when available.

And so far, the percentage of doctor's visits for the flu has exceeded the national baseline for eight consecutive weeks, the report said. And up to 70 percent of those who were hospitalized for flu-related symptoms were over 65.

Sandon S. Speedling, MHS, CPM, Acting County Health Officer at the Florida Department of Health in Jackson County stated, "Getting vaccinated is the single most effective way to protect yourself and your family from getting the flu".

Jacqueline Katz, deputy director of the CDC's influenza division, said a theory behind the poor performance of the H3N2 component of the vaccine relates to the way flu vaccine is produced. "However it still is a protective effect against those children getting really sick from influenza". If it's past 48 hours, then the treatment doesn't work.

The authors noted that influenza-associated hospitalization rates to date were substantially lower in the 2016-2017 season, and have improved since the 2014-2015 season, which had low vaccine effectiveness because the influenza A (H3N2) viruses were antigenically different from the recommended A (H3N2) vaccine component, they wrote.

This flu season there are twice as many cases as usual and if you have had a flu shot you're still not protected. But it's not too late to get a shot to keep the flu at bay.

The best defense against influenza is the flu vaccine, Morrow said.

Stay home if you are sick. Reported flu cases are up four percentage points from past year.

"Whenever you see the incidence of flu increase dramatically as it has during the past two weeks, you're going to see more visits to physicians' offices, emergency rooms and urgent care centers", Morrow said. More than likely, you still have time for it to work, ' Dr. Kidd added. But it's 73 percent effective against influenza B viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The university is under "red" alert and health officials urge students and staff to use proper hygiene practices.

Dr. Kidd and other local doctors are also seeing cases of walking pneumonia, strep throat, mononucleosis and a nasty virus that mimics the flu, but it's symptoms are worse. Touching "door knobs, sharing telephones, and sitting at tables...where everybody else coughed and sneezed", are all great ways to catch the flu but washing your hands can help to minimize that risk.

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