The Center for Disease Control reported that by the end of December, 41 states had widespread flu activity, up from 31 states just one week earlier.
There have been reports of long emergency room lines in Illinois for those with flu-like symptoms. In Pennsylvania, an outdoor tent area was set up outside a local hospital for those with less severe symptoms. In Boston, the mayor declared a city health emergency because of the flu.
Komo News reported today that during this flu season, six people have died in Washington (where the flu is reported as localized and at moderate levels) due to the flu or flu-related complications.
According to the CDC’s flu website, “In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.”
The the CDC says the H3N2v flu strain is responsible for much of this year’s flu cases. It’s symptoms are similar to a seasonal flu and include fever (often high), cough, runny nose, sore throat, and muscle aches.
To summarize, the flu is serious and can be dangerous for young children, the elderly and high-risk groups like those with asthma.
It’s not too late to get a flu shot and CDC officials recommend it. They say it’s the best way to protect you and your family from this year’s aggressive flu strain.
You can schedule a vaccination with your local doctor or stop in local pharmacies. Snoqualmie Valley Hospital clinics offer the vaccine, as well as Safeway and QFC pharmacies in North Bend.
For more information visit www.flu.gov. You can even type in your zip code to find a nearby location to receive a flu shot.