Less individuals have looked for outpatient care or have been hospitalized for influenza like ailments this season, the CDC said in a report summarizing influenza action from September 30 to February 2. But, if you waited longer and didn't take medications sooner, flu virus could damage the body, and you'll likely need to catch up more antivirals. Although influenza A H1N1 viruses have been most common across the nation, H3N2 viruses are predominating in the Southeast.
There were 28 flu-related pediatric deaths reported to the CDC as of February 2, and among the 26 children with a known medical history, 46% had ≥1 underlying medical condition recognized by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Last season, investigators note, the end-of-season flu vaccine effectiveness rate was only 38% overall, which included rates of 22% effectiveness against influenza A (H3N2), 62% against influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, and 50% against influenza B. Flu vaccination prevented an estimated 10% of expected hospitalizations overall, though in young children aged 6 months to 4 years the benefits of vaccination were greatest, with 41% of all expected hospitalizations prevented by vaccination.
During the 2017-18 flu season, there was a total of 16 influenza-related deaths.
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Florida's DOH said flu activity in the state was above peak levels in the previous two seasons, with an increase in influenza activity statewide. At this time during the 2017-2018 season, 7.7% of outpatient medical visits were caused by the flu.
But even during a less-severe flu season, the illness still claims many lives.
It's not too late to get a flu shot.
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So far, protection against H1N1 looks comparable to a year ago, he said. The CDC recommends flu shots for almost every American older than six months of age, with few exceptions.
Flu activity has been increasing over the past few weeks, and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) expects influenza activity persists for the coming weeks.
Flu cases jumped to 1.5 million since October 1, 2018, with over 186,000 flu-related hospitalizations and more than 7.2 million flu medical visits, as per CDC estimates.
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The CDC also recommends antiviral medication for people "with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illness; who require hospitalization; or who are at high risk for influenza complications". If you feel yourself becoming sick, keep in mind to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and if you are sick, stay home if possible.