It may seem like every time you turn on the news that you hear something about the flu. In fact, the 2017-2018 flu season has already claimed a significant number of lives across the U.S., and that number is only expected to rise. So why is this year’s flu season particularly bad? And how can you prevent your family from getting it? Keep reading to find out.
Why This Year’s Flu Season Is Worse than Others
Even before the start of flu season, CDC officials warned that it could be an especially difficult one – primarily because the strain predicted was influenza A (H3N2). This particular strain tends to be worse than others, and as forecasted, there have been significantly more cases of influenza A reported than influenza B. In the past, when H3N2 has been the dominate strain, there has been an increase in the number of hospitalizations of children and the elderly, and this year is no different.
What You Can Do Now
Although we’re in the midst of flu season, it’s not too late to have your family get the flu vaccine. Not only will the vaccine help prevent you from contracting the flu, but it may also lessen the severity of symptoms. Plus, as the season progresses, other flu strains with greater vaccine susceptibility are likely to become more common.
In addition to the flu vaccine, it’s absolutely critical that you practice good hygiene habits this time of year. This includes staying home when you’re sick, washing your hands regularly, keeping your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose and maintaining a clean environment.
When to See a Doctor
If you or a loved one has symptoms of the flu and are in a high-risk group, make sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician right away. If your symptoms include trouble breathing, pain in the chest or abdomen, confusion or severe, persistent vomiting, visit the Emergency Department at Carthage Area Hospital immediately.