The flu season has been busy and is now one of the worst in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Experts at the agency say the virus has spread to 41 states, prompting 29 of them to be “severe” levels.
“In the past 10 years we have seen just two or three like it,” said Tom Skinner of the CDC.
Eighteen children have died nationwide. Children and teens, plus the elderly, are most susceptible to this year’s common strain, H3N2. CDC experts say not to send your kids to school if they are sick, and make sure they are vaccinated.
Some of the children who have been immunized and still get the flu are having lighter symptoms, indicating that it seems to be giving them protection. There have also been cases of the H1N1 virus, which caused a pandemic in 2009, and influenza B, which can be treated with this year’s vaccine.
Here are some ways to stay healthy:
- Sanitize your hands often with an alcohol-based product. Soap does not kill viruses.
- Wipe down shared work or household objects such as telephones, keyboards, computer mice, and TV and stereo remote controls with Lysol.
- Avoid people who are coughing.
- Open the windows at home or in your workplace. The breeze can carry away the air droplets containing the virus.
- Get a flu shot.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience flu symptoms, even if you already got a flu shot, there are medications that will make the illness milder.