State Officials 'Alarmed' By Flu Activity

Eastern Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and TDH recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six months and older.

On Monday January 15, anyone showing flu symptoms, or under the age of 12 years will have visitor limitations at St. Peter's.

Only Hawaii and the District of Columbia have been spared widespread flu infection so far, according to the CDC.

Dr. Zeeshan Shaikh of Southwest Urgent and Family Care said this is the worst flu season he's ever seen and blames it on a number of different reasons.

The word "atypical" is being used to describe this year's flu season.

The previous report, from data gathered December 23, stated that seven people had died from the flu in Travis County up to that point.

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One child was confirmed to have died of the flu during the last week of 2017.

Even if you get the flu this year, having the shot can decrease the length and severity of your symptoms. The FluMist nasal vaccine offered in the past has not been very effective against H1N1 strains in recent years, so the CDC says it "should not be used".

In the last week, doctors have seen an uptick in flu-related doctors visits while the rate of flu hospitalizations almost doubled. Early predictions show the vaccine is about 32 percent effective, meaning that if 100 vaccinated people are exposed to the flu, 32 will be protected against it.

Unfortunately, the end of this flu season is nowhere in sight.

The release says the predominant strain of flu in the state is Influenza A (H3N2). In addition, there are also other strains of influenza that are still to be a major cause of disease. "Whether we will reach that level this year we don't know", Jernigan said. Some states that have already had outbreaks of H3N2 are beginning to see cases of H1N1. The most vulnerable are the very old and very young and also those who have weakened immune systems. It is also more hard to vaccinate against; some estimates indicate this year's shot may only be 10 percent effective.

"An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading it to others", officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. Since then, emergency rooms have been crowded with long wait times, and patients have struggled to get doctor appointments as well as flu medications.

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