Flu-related hospitalizations reach 10-year high: 4 things to know

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In the 2016-17 flu season, which runs from September to August, there were 178 cases.

Adults and children have died. The flu is one of the most contagious infectious diseases, reports the CDC.

"In seasons where H3N2 is the main cause of influenza, we see more cases, more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more deaths", said Dan Jernigan the director of the Influenza Division at the CDC.

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Both Missouri and Kansas, like every state except OR and Hawaii, have witnessed "widespread" flu activity this season - defined by the CDC as outbreaks in at least half the regions of a state.

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About half of the children who died from the flu this season were healthy and did not suffer from pre-existing conditions like asthma.

The CDC has tracked pediatric deaths since 2004, he said, and "since that time, they've ranged from 37 to 171 during regular seasons; the highest was during the 2009 pandemic, when 358 pediatric deaths were reported".

Insurance, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children's flu shots.

Residents may also wish to contact their local health care provider or pharmacy about getting a flu shot. Not included in that figure is Aaron Masterson, a 12-year-old Huntsville Middle School student who passed away from the flu Sunday. "In cases where the avian flu has infected humans, the mortality rate has been around 60 percent". This treatment can shorten the time you are sick and also prevent complications. Flu can also make chronic medical problems worse, including asthma and chronic heart disease. It will only spread the illness further.

"Unfortunately, once you've had the flu you can still get it again because you could get it from a different strain", she said.

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"There's no way to fully tell that until the end of the season", said Hawkinson, "Judging from Australia and the southern hemisphere it doesn't seem like the vaccine this year would be very effective". Although this season's vaccine appears to be less effective than in previous flu seasons, it remains the best way to protect against the illness as well as to mitigate its symptoms.

Doctors suggest seeing a physician if you start having any of the flu symptoms including: headaches, body aches and/or fever.

"Proper hand washing is the best technique for keeping flu from spreading". Remain in the home for at least 24 hours after the fever has lifted without medication, as recommended by the CDC.

The hospitalization rate for the fourth week of 2018 is about 51 people per 100,000, higher than in the fourth week of the 2014-15 season, which recorded about 43 people hospitalized per 100,000. It's possible that getting sick with one type of influenza A virus would offer some modest protection against another type of influenza A, but it probably wouldn't give you any protection against the influenza B virus, Schaffner said.

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