Flu season hits hard

Published 9:37 am Friday, January 5, 2018

It usually starts with a sneeze or a cough and quickly descends into rougher, more brutal symptoms from there. Fever, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, severe congestion, sore throat — these are all symptoms of the flu.

Flu season is usually strongest during the winter months, but the 2017-2018 season got an early start and has proven to be a particularly harsh bout of the yearly bug.

According to an article published at healthline.com, the CDC has stated that a total of 36 states have reported widespread flu illnesses. This is a big leap from the previous 23 states.

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A wkyt.com article noted that Kentucky officials declared the flu issue widespread in the state just before Christmas of last year. What “widespread” means in particular is that half the regions in the state report flu-like symptoms or outbreak.

This specific strain of the flu, H3N2, has already caused a major concern in Australia, and is now causing problems in America.

The reason for the heavy impact H3N2 is having in due to a multitude of factors. For one, the strain is generally harsher than past strains — mimicking complications of pneumonia and increasing the possibility of needing hospitalization, which is of particular concern for the elderly.

Also, the current flu shot is simply not that effective against the H3N2 at this time. Although the vaccine isn’t a perfect solution, experts still recommend getting it as it can lessen the severity of the flu if you do get it. The flu is still going to hang around for the upcoming months and it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so the sooner everyone gets the shot, the better chances they have of not catching to flu or drastically reducing the severity of it if they do catch it.

To reduce the risk of contracting the flu, it’s always best to follow the standard guidelines of avoidance. Avoid contact with those with the flu, if you are sick with the flu experts state to stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks except to keep medical appointments and buying supplies, and always clean surfaces to get rid of any flu germs you may have left behind.

Information for this article was found at https://www.healthline.com/health-news/2018-flu-season-potentially-dangerous-start#5 and http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Flu-activity-in-Kentucky-now-classified-as-widespread-465685063.html.