The 2016-17 flu storm is at its Apex, and sickening Americans at epidemic levels in many states.
Alas, influenza has brought its ‘A’ game this year, and Americans need to be their own LeBron James while trying to win the fight against the flu, and stay healthy during the sickliest time of the year.
This means Americans most susceptible to the flu: seniors, pregnant women and children must be on alert guard against influenza, which will claim thousands of lives this and sicken millions in the U.S. this season. The U.S. Centers for Disease Controls reports outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) were 4.8 percent in February, more than double the national baseline of 2.2 percent. The CDC reports influenza’s geographic reach as widespread in 88 percent (44 of 50) U.S. states.
After coming in like a sleeping lamb, this year’s flu season is going out like a roaring lion.
“Flu varies, it’s fickle sometimes it starts earlier sometimes it’s later,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told ABC News.
The CDC reports Influenza A (H3) is this season’s most prevalent flu strain.
Now, the good news: It’s still not too late to get protection from the flu via a flu shot.
“Run, don’t walk,” Schaffner said, noting in takes between 10 days to two weeks for antibodies to build up after the flu shot. “It is not too late to get the flu shot. There is an excellent match between what is in the vaccine this year and the virus” circulating the country.
“It’s not too late (but) I wouldn’t linger,” Schaffner said.
The CDC reminds people that daily smart hand hygiene practices like regular handwashing, hand sanitizer use, and germ and bacteria transmission prevention techniques are also proven safeguards against acquiring and spreading the health migraine that is the flu. Staying home when you’re sick can prevent your misery from spreading to your coworkers and keep your workplace happy and healthy.
“Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing, and if you get sick, restrict your activities,” Schaffner said. “You don’t want to give it to others.”
And carrying hand sanitizer with you wherever you go gives you instant protection against 99.9 percent of the harmful germs and pathogens lurking around the corner. Keeping hand sanitizer on your desk and accessible for coworkers is what flu fighting teamwork is all about.
“You’re helping prevent the spread of germs and you’re keeping yourself healthy,” Etiquette expert Thomas Foley told NBC’s Today Show.
For no one can sleep playing flu defense during this tough season.