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Recent Rise in Influenza Activity Becomes Epidemic

A young woman shows off her flu shot after receiving vaccine at a local drug store. Photo: Whoisjohngalt/Wikimedia Commons

by Martha E. Ibarra/LFN

For thirteen years, the CDC has monitored the flu and for the first time data is showing extensive flu activity throughout the nation. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as of January 6, every part of the continental United States has shown an increase in influenza with 49 states reporting widespread flu activity.

On October 1, the CDC begins monitoring for any activity pertaining to influenza. Between October 2017 and January 2018, an estimated 60,000 samples have tested positive for the flu. While the CDC is recognizing this year’s flu season as an epidemic, it is being noted that this is to be expected for the U.S during this winter season. However, what makes this flu season so unique is that so many are becoming ill at the same time which is leading to a shortage of anti-viral drugs.

Those most susceptible to influenza are young children and elderly adults. An immune system weakened by the flu can cause serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, and can lead to complications that can be fatal.

CDC officials believe that the flu will continue to circulate throughout the U.S for several more weeks and recommend receiving a flu shot to prevent the spread of influenza.

A flu shot, however, is not the only precautionary measure you can take towards your health this flu season. Washing your hands regularly and wiping down surfaces where the virus can live for up to 24 hours is also recommended.

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