CDC officials say flu season has finally peaked


The number of flu cases reported during the week leading up to Saturday was less than the half number reported at the peak.

Overall, fewer people are going to see a doctor for the flu than during the height of the season in the beginning of February.

According to the data, there were 497 positive lab tests for influenza, a decrease of more than 20 percent week over week.

Locally, officials haven't found this flu season to be much different from past flu seasons.

While the Influenza B virus can be better for some people because the vaccine is more effective, Simpson said the virus is more risky for men over the age of 50 because it is associated with an onset of heart attacks.

In Arkansas, the number of patients visiting emergency rooms with high fevers and coughs or sore throats during the week that ended Saturday fell by 47 percent compared with the previous week, from 1,101 to 581, the state Health Department reported.

The season apparently peaked in early February and has been fading since, health officials said last week.

Those who are having flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, fatigue and chills are encouraged to stay home from public gatherings until they are able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication. "There still is a lot of flu out there", Dr. Alicia Fry, who works in the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday, according to NPR.

"The season's not over but we're definitely on the downward trend right now", said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's acting director. She tells WDET's Laura Weber-Davis she is cautiously optimistic the worse of this particularly unsafe strain of the flu could be behind us, now that the weather is beginning to warm up and people are spending less time cooped up in offices and close quarters. But another kind that hits children hard has picked up steam. As of March 3, Pennsylvania had recorded 169 flu-related deaths in the 2017-2018 flu season, including five children.

The shot also helps train the immune system to fend off the flu in future seasons, he said.