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Why is the Flu so Perilous This Year?

Why is the Flu so Perilous This Year?Although many people refer to the “flu” as other ailments, Influenza is a highly contagious upper respiratory illness. The  Florida Department of Health reports as follows:

“Overall, deaths due to pneumonia and influenza were higher than expected. Increases in deaths due to pneumonia and influenza are also expected over the coming weeks given the amount of widespread illness in the preceding weeks. Most pneumonia and influenza deaths continued to occur in people aged 65 years and older; of the deaths in people aged 64 years and younger, most occurred in people with underlying health conditions (68%).

Thirty-one outbreaks of influenza or ILI were reported: 19 with laboratory confirmation of influenza and 12 ILI. As of week 7 (ending February 17, 2018), 420 outbreaks of influenza and ILI have been reported since the start of the 2017-18 season.

The Florida Department of Health is conducting enhanced surveillance of intensive-care unit (ICU) patients aged <65 with laboratory-confirmed influenza. In week 7, 69 cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases reported up to 201 since February 1, 2018. The majority of these cases occurred in unvaccinated people with underlying health conditions.” (1)

Why is it worse this year, than years past?
We are in the middle of an epidemic of widespread flu activity. With just a few months left of the flu season, it’s still imperative that individuals get the flu vaccination. This year, in particular, Influenza A (H3N2) is rampant. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), the H3 influenza virus leads to a much more serious case of the flu. In addition, people infected with H3N2 are more likely to develop bronchial disorders like pneumonia and chronic productive lung illnesses. Although anyone can get the flu, H3 is most unsafe for the elderly, babies and young children, as well as individuals with weakened immune systems.

(1) Florida Department of Health, Florida Flu Review, Week 7: February 11-17, 2018, floridahealth.gov.

Consequently, the H1N1 flu virus is subsequently circulating and raising the total number of cases of people infected with the flu. Because the flu virus is so pervasive this year, physicians are instructed by the CDC to administer antivirals (like Tamiflu) immediately to patients with any indications of influenza, even if a positive flu diagnosis has not yet been determined.

Prevention is key
The best prevention is still, of course, to get vaccinated, because even if you get the flu virus, the vaccine will most likely shorten the duration of the symptoms. 30% of H3 strains of influenza are directly affected by the vaccine to protect you against getting the illness and spreading it to others.

Hygiene still plays a huge role in protecting you against this years harrowing viruses. Washing yours and your children’s hands frequently, avoiding areas with large crowds, sneezing into your arm, wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectants and antivirals, and getting proper nutrition and sleep are also essential to stop the spread of the virus.

Arcadia Medical Associates
Arcadia Medical Associate’s Medical Team and staff are committed to providing a personalized, pleasant, and discreet experience, exceptional care, and are eager to assist you with any of your healthcare needs. Their offices are fluent in English and Spanish, and they have three locations to serve you.

If you or someone you know needs to be treated for or given the flu vaccination, please contact Arcadia Medical Associates today at the following locations:

www.arcadia-medical.com

Arcadia Medical Associates, Sarasota Office
2415 University Parkway, Bldg 3, Suite 111,
Sarasota, FL 34243
Phone: (941) 359-3337

Arcadia Medical Associates, Arcadia Office
425 Nursing Home Drive,
Arcadia, FL 34266
Phone: (863) 993-2966

Arcadia Medical Associates, Wauchula Office
324 S. 6th Avenue,
Wauchula, FL 33873
Phone: (863) 473-4733

 

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