Flu on the rise in West Michigan

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The percentage of individuals seeking care for influenza-like illness is elevated for the fourth straight week, and at rates higher than West Virginia has seen in the past five influenza seasons.

Everyone needs to take the flu very seriously this year.

"This season is shaping up to be particularly harsh", said Silbermann.

That red line you are seeing on the chart above which is pinning upward in the middle of the chart is showing the number of flu-like predicaments told by the CDC's national network this year.

Of the 30 US children who have died from the flu so far this season, some 85 percent had not been vaccinated, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who urged Americans to get flu shots amid one of the most severe flu seasons in years.

Despite a number of deaths being connected to the flu this season, flu-related hospitalizations and deaths are not unusually high.

The number is almost double that of previous year at this time, according to CDC data. Zwolle works as a respiratory therapist at OhioHealth Marion General Hospital and said that after seeing how bad the flu was through her work at the hospital, she chose to take her son to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is less effective against H3 viruses, which tend to cause more serious flu cases than other strains.

The flu has also been widespread, and it is important to know the warning signs that may signal something more serious.

Still, doctors urge people to get vaccinated - especially more vulnerable populations, such as young children, the elderly and people with certain chronic medical conditions - saying that any protection is better than none.

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Health officials last week said flu was blanketing the country but they thought there was a good chance the season was already peaking.

What can you do to protect yourself - and others? People working at the CDC could potentially be furloughed until further notice.

Miller: L.A. Care is providing the flu vaccination to our members with several options to choose from.

The hallmarks of flu are fever and body aches that accompany cough and congestion, Bergen said. The cold usually lasts fewer days than the flu. It also means that the clinic may see different flu strains in these patients than those who live locally. There were 50 patients during that same time period in January 2017.

Local, county, and state health departments do a lot of flu monitoring, and patients aren't treated by the federal government, noted Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. DeLisle explained how the areas with high-risk groups like young children and people over the age of 65 get hit the hardest and experience an uptake of emergency room visits.

"We still have time and it could go into March and April", she said.

Numerous area hospitals rolled out campaigns and stations to remind people to clean properly, wear face masks when coming in for health care and follow other tips to prevent against illness for the next couple months.

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