Body aches and pains, vomiting, sore throat/coughing, extreme fatigue and exhaustion, fever, and stuffy nose — these are the symptoms of influenza, or as most people like to call it, the dreaded flu. It’s something we all try to avoid around flu season, so pointers for guarding against the flu are always handy.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death in the worst-case scenario. People tend to underestimate the value of washing their hands or covering their mouth and nose when they sneeze and cough. During flu season, people cough and sneeze into their hands and touch things, not realizing that they are spreading their sickness or germs into the air that we breathe. Viruses are spread when bacteria and other microbes enter your body and begin to multiply. Our antibodies produced by our immune system are supposed to attach to these bacteria and attack it. Although, if the immune system is too weak from illness, the virus continues to spread throughout the body.
Influenza is becoming widespread in the United States, especially within states located in the northern region of the country. While often more prevalent in the North, however, health officials have recently reported a rise in flu activity in Florida. Especially in South Florida, hospitals have seen an increase, or spike in patients visiting the emergency room (ER) for experiencing influenza or flu like symptoms.
This flu epidemic is leading to a sharp rise in hospitalizations for people who are confirmed to be diagnosed with the actual flu. To be exact, there are 23 hospitalizations per 100,000 people with influenza.
According to Dr. Daniel Jernigan, the director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2017-2018 flu season started early and probably is still starting to spread out. He said, “We have a lot more flu to go.” The influenza type A, or H3N2 strain of the virus is the most common form being diagnosed and treated this flu season.
As numbers continue to be on the rise, it may still be too early to tell how severe the flu has really impacted people in states like Florida, but physicians in hospitals and doctor’s offices are seeing the effects firsthand.
Being one of the worst flu seasons the state has ever seen, according to Florida’s weekly flu report, there were approximately 73 outbreaks of influenza and flu-like illness this season, more outbreaks than in previous seasons.
CDC officials say that there have been deaths from the flu, with 20 cases being children, with two of those major cases being in the state of Florida. One of the children in Florida who died happened to not have received a flu shot, and had other health problems as well. Those with the flu and other underlying health complications such as pneumonia are reported to kill more than 2,000 people a year on average in Florida. These scary statistics and prevalence of this virus, indicate all the more reason to get yourself and children vaccinated, and learn ways to keep yourself healthy during flu season.
Not washing your hands and touching all different surfaces whether it be in public or at home spreads germs. Washing your hands is by far the best weapon people have to prevent not only the flu but any infectious disease. The flu is no joke. So, therefore, if you feel like you may be sick with a cold, or feel something coming on, it is important to take action for you and your family to seek medical attention right away, to not be a statistic.
Physicians and health care officials cannot stress enough the importance of the flu shot and especially washing your hands as important steps to help fight and prevent the flu. Health officials recommend the flu vaccine as the most effective way to prevent influenza. To actually help prevent spread of the flu, health officials also recommend that sick people stay home until they are fever free, and not taking medication for at least 24 hours.
Advanced Medical in Florida is focused on preventing the flu and returning you to optimal health. We offer flu shots and other preventive methods to ensure your protection.
To learn more about the flu and ways to guard yourself and prevent it, call Advanced Medical in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach, Florida at (561) 434-1935 to request an appointment, or you can request an appointment online.