Medicine

Flu season could be 'serious,' according to health officials

Flu season could be 'serious,' according to health officials

Predominant strains could change throughout a flu season, and the duration and severity of each season can vary dramatically from year to year, Baumbach said.

"Over the past week or so, we have been seeing more positive confirmed cases through our laboratory, as well as we've seen a number of patients admitted with influenza over the past week, which is an increase in what we saw previous weeks", said Jeff Brock, Infectious Diseases Pharmacy Specialist at Mercy Medical Center.

In a commentary in the same Lancet issue, Dr. Sheena Sullivan with the WHO Collaborating Center and Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia, said the study provides a much-needed and a more accurate update to the earlier WHO estimate.

"Speculation is so hard throughout the whole season, particularly as it's really getting started", said Dr. Joan Baumbach, the deputy state epidemiologist for New Mexico.

During the US 2016-17 season, overall vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent. According to The Washington Post, more than 6,000 people across the nation had tested positive for the flu as of last week - more than twice as many as were reported at the same time previous year. Holding to the norm, Iowa and Nebraska are among the states reporting a preponderance of H3N2 influenza cases.

Koenig went on to say that while no vaccine can be guaranteed 100 percent effective, "a study published earlier this year in a pediatric journal shows that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza". "Viruses mutate, we could see different strains here than they saw during their season".

A family in Italy doesn't feel pain because of a gene mutation
Letizia's mother, Maria Domenica, 78, has had a number of fractures which have never healed properly and have hardened naturally. Finally, the researchers sequenced part of the family's genomes , revealing a new mutation in the " ZFHX2 " gene.

Dr. Wallace said even if the effectiveness of this year's vaccine is lower than usual, it's still the best way to fight the flu. Despite widespread publicity touting the benefits of being vaccinated, ODH states that roughly three of every five people across the country have not been vaccinated yet this year - including two of every three pregnant women. They're also emphasizing the need for what would be the Holy Grail of flu vaccination - a universal shot that wouldn't have to be adjusted and injected each season.

It is not too late to get vaccinated, and there are ample amounts of the vaccine available, Zucker said. "That is, I think, some time away yet", he said.

"Anything that you can do to help prevent your family from getting the flu is very beneficial", said Altmann, who was not involved in the CDC research. It hasn't proved effective in recent years and is not recommended this year.

Safranek also recommended antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, for people with flu symptoms: a fever higher than 101 degrees, a cough or sore throat, muscle aches and exhaustion.

The doctor urged parents and guardians to keep their children home from school if they're infected. Those who aren't can protect themselves by washing or sanitizing hands, avoiding sick people, eating healthfully and getting plenty of rest.


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