"But this season, there is a dominant strain that wasn't super common last season".
The traditional flu season lasts from October through May. Alabama is one of 26 states reporting high levels of influenza-like Illness. That's up slightly from 51 hospitalizations during the previous week. The CDC's latest report said that the United States is officially in a flu epidemic. "We strongly encourage people to protect themselves, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu". The state agency didn't provide specific ages.
In addition to flu, this year seems to be producing more cases of generally severe colds and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which led Vidant to restrict visits to the children's hospital in December, Ramsey said. Jennifer Burrough and her family didn't get flu shots this year after hearing reports that suggested it might not work very well this season.
Vaccines developed for this year's strain are only 10 percent effective against the H3N2 virus, also commonly known as the Australian flu. The CDC said Friday that so far this year, the hospitalization rate for the flu is slightly below the 2014-2015 rate. "You just have some people that refuse to take it despite medical advice and you have some people who are pretty religious about taking it and on a routine basis", says Taylor.
That was the pattern during the last heavy H3N2 years, which saw a rapid drop-off in the following weeks, which is what Jernigan said he expects.
Influenza symptoms include fever or feeling feverish, a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, chills and fatigue. "I was really weak", said Margaret Shafer, who went to a Seattle emergency room this week after a bout with the flu was followed by pneumonia.
· If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
The number of people stricken by flu continues to rise across the country, with 15,572 laboratory-confirmed cases for the season as of January 6, the Public Health Agency of Canada says.
To avoid catching flu, wash your hands frequently, and ensure you've had your flu jab if you are in an at-risk group. Cleaning crews are now working overtime to sanitize the schools.
Additionally, the number of those being treated for flu-like symptoms increased by 2,370 people in one week. Antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick.