Flu Cases Falling in California but Still Remain Above the National Baseline + Tips to Stay Healthy
Influenza activity in the United States continued to decrease but remained above the national baseline according to the latest FluView report.
Influenza-like illness (ILI) dropped slightly from 2.5% reported last week to 2.4%. Current data indicate that the 2017-2018 flu season peaked at 7.5% in early February (during week 5). However, 11 states continue to report widespread flu activity and 2 states continue to experience high ILI activity.
Hospitalization rates this season have exceeded end-of-season hospitalization rates for 2014-2015, a high severity, H3N2-predominant season.
CDC also is reporting an additional 5 flu-related pediatric deaths during week 13, bringing the total number of flu-related pediatric deaths this season to 142.
Flu activity is likely to remain elevated for a number of weeks.
This season, the predominant strain is also the nastiest, H3N2, which causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two types of influenza B viruses that circulate among people and are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. Seasons when H3N2 strain dominates are associated with more hospitalizations, more deaths and more illnesses.
Those who are particularly hard hit are the very young, the elderly and people with certain chronic health conditions, experts say.
As top CDC flu expert Daniel Jernigan said: “Of the viruses we hate, we hate H3N2 more than the other ones.” This strain, which has been around for 50 years, is able to change more quickly to get around the human body’s immune system than the other viruses targeted in this year’s seasonal flu vaccine.
Since the beginning of 2018, however, the overall proportion of influenza A viruses is declining, and the proportion of influenza B viruses is increasing, and that could lead to a second bump in flu activity, officials said.
What treatments and tests are available?
At our office we will rub a swab -- just like the cotton swabs in your bathroom, but longer. The swab will be run up your nose.
How Long Does It Take to Get Results?
If your doctor does the test himself, or they do it in the lab at his office, the answer usually comes back within 15 minutes. We may send out the swab for additional testing.
What Does a Test Look For?
Remember, there are always some things you can do to help keep yourself and your family from getting sick.