The flu this season – statistics and how to protect and treat yourself

As a present that belongs more to the “naughty” list this holiday season, influenza has already gotten busy spreading its unsavory self all across the United States as well as Puerto Rico. According to recent surveillance from the CDC, forty nine of the fifty US states had reported flu activity that was both regional and widespread during the week which ended on December 23rd.

Since the start of December, Snohomish County, Washington, had five reported death cases from flu, four of them being in the span from the 21st and the 28th. That adds to the overall total of 20 flu deaths in this year, which was reported by the Washington State Department of Health.

This flu season, the numbers for children dying from flu nationwide is 12, while reported hospitalizations from flu come in at a current 2,485. These higher rates are mainly from people who were 65 or older, those 50 to 64, and children who were 4 years old and younger.

The number may seem high, but there is a bit of an explanation to that – doctors have said that the vaccine for flu, which usually works at 40 to 60 percent in effectiveness, only got up to 10 to 33 percent. Regardless, though, the vaccine is still a good way to go for protection from the virus, or, in the cases of this who have already come down with it, a way to ease up on those nasty, exhausting symptoms.

The CDC has recommended some simple steps for those who have or think they have the flu:

Those that have a higher risk for complications from the virus should seek medical attention as flu can result in pneumonia or even death when left untreated in a weaker body. This category includes people with progressive or severe ailments, HIV or other immuno-compromised patients, residents of a health care or nursing home, children of 5 year or younger, pregnant or two weeks postpartum women, people 65 or older, and those with other illnesses.

Anyone not listed in that category should stay home and get plenty of rest. Make sure to use your own cup or water bottle to drink a lot of fluids, avoid going too close to others to prevent infecting them as well, and don’t wipe your hands on random things as germs will get transmitted through this.

Over-the-counter meds can help, too.