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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

CDC Reports that Flu Season is Severe for Seniors

By January 25, 2013

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We have all heard reports of how bad this year's flu season has been so far - busy hospitals, difficulty finding flu shots, and lots of people sick with the flu.

The latest news from the CDC offers some more specifics on just what is making flu season so bad, including that:

  • seniors are being hit particularly hard, with high rates of flu-related hospitalizations and flu-related deaths
  • the number of pediatric deaths so far this year (37) has already surpassed the total number of pediatric deaths for last year's flu season (34)

There are some signs that flu season might be peaking, at least in some parts of the country. Although we are still seeing widespread flu activity in 47 states, the CDC does report that "influenza-like illness (ILI) activity is declining in the South, Southeast, New England and the Midwest. While the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Northwest of the country are still on the upswing."

Keep in mind that even as flu activity starts to decline, there will likely still be some flu going around for at least several months. That makes it important to:

  • get a flu vaccine if you haven't and get protected for the rest of flu season.
  • take steps to avoid getting sick with the flu, including encouraging your kids to wash their hands often and avoiding other people who are sick.
  • avoid other people if your child is sick with the flu, especially seniors who might develop serious flu complications.
  • see your pediatrician if your high-risk child has flu symptoms, including children with asthma, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions, etc., children under age 2-years-old, and kids with severe flu symptoms.

And remember that flu symptoms, including fever, can last 3 to 7 days, and the cough may linger up to 2 weeks or longer. Even with Tamiflu, your child with the flu likely isn't going to get better and back to daycare or school in just a few days.

Related:
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Is It Too Late To Get A Flu Shot?

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