This year, US medical professionals expect a challenging flu season, with 7,000 confirmed cases reported nationwide by the end of November - double the number from last year at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is only when the CDC guesses incorrectly that the flu is a major discussion topic across the state.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations in places like Santa Clarita, including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers and even in some schools, according to the CDC. It tends to be a fairly severe form of flu, local health experts said, but was not one of the strains in the vaccine used to protect people from the illness this year.
Also, according to CDC, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness [ILI] was 5 percent nationally, as of the week ending December 23. The vaccines also include strains of influenza Type B, which may circulate more broadly later in the year.
In California alone, Montrose's Adventist Health Urgent Care has seen the amount of patients with flu-like symptoms double compared to previous year at the same time, with majority testing positive for the virus. This spike could correlate to the close proximity people have with others during the holidays when they gather with family and friends. "Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing".
And if you're not already home fighting off the bug, it's still a good idea to get a flu shot if you haven't. When someone posts to Facebook that "they have the flu" and the posts are made publicly and with geolocation tags, that information is added to the Sick Weather data. Maryland's Department of Health is reporting widespread flu activity. Sick rooms can be shared with others who are sick and in households with more than one bathroom, sick people should use one while well people use the other. Fuller's team also was able to direct the T-cells to go to the lungs first, where much of the damage of an influenza infection occurs.
Not everyone with flu will have a fever. Healthy people can typically recover from the flu in less than two weeks with rest, fluids and pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but antivirals can help prevent more serious complications, like pneumonia. Flu-related complications can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death.
The nasal spray, however, is not thought to be a worthwhile preventative measure against this flu.
Haupt says the best thing people can do to protect themselves right now is to get vaccinated, since there is an ample supply of the flu shot available.