This year’s flu season is one of the worst the nation has ever seen.
According to CNN Health, there have been more than 30 flu-related child fatalities across 49 states (excluding Hawaii). As of mid-January, there were 14,401 new laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu, brining the total season number to 74,562. Unfortunately, the actual total number of flu carriers this year is much larger since many do not visit a doctor while they are sick.
“Hopefully we’re at the peak now, but until we see it go down for a couple of weeks we won’t know that we have reached peak yet,” said Lynnette Brammer, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Domestic Flu Surveillance team. “Some areas of the country may have, but I think some areas are probably still going up.”
USA Today adds that this year’s flu season is on pace to be as bad or worse than the 2014 flu outbreak that led to an estimated 56,000 deaths. Though children and young adults have been hit hard by this year’s influenza outbreak, the elderly have had it much worse.
“Baby boomers have higher rates than their grandchildren right now,” Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC’s influenza division. “[Still], we expect there will be additional reports of pediatric deaths, similar to what we’ve seen in other severe seasons.”
Jernigan also noted that during the 2014 flu outbreak, 148 child deaths were reported.
Since the very old, the very young, and any individual with underlying conditions (such as heart disease and asthma) are at a high risk of contracting the flu, there needs to be a stronger nationwide emphasis placed on preventing and combating this deadly disease.
So how can individuals fight back against catching the flu? While at home and at the office, it’s important to focus on total cleanliness. In fact, employees working in a clean office environment have an approximate 80% reduced chance of catching both the common cold and the flu.
Additionally, since the flu can exist within food contamination, carefully monitoring food products at all times can prevent sickness as well.
Healthy soil typically contains 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter, but can be easily contaminated with the dangerous viruses. Any individual dealing with growing his or her own food should carefully monitor the soil at all times. Similarly, people should carefully watch all food products while they are being stored, delivered, and even after they have been left out on countertops or kitchen tables for too long.
The best way, however, to fight the flu is to visit a doctor and get vaccinated.
“There’s no question that the people who got their flu shots this year got less sick than the people who didn’t,” added Dr. Brahim Ardolic, chairman of emergency medicine at Staten Island University Hospital. “The sickest people are still clearly the ones who did not get their flu shots.”