Flu virus heavily prevalent in baby boomers this season


More Americans are seeking medical care for flu than at any time since the "swine" pandemic of almost a decade ago, say USA health officials. Nationwide, 37 children have died from the virus and infectious disease. While no total is available for deaths overall this flu season, the agency does track pediatric mortality.

"So, by this measure, we are about halfway there this season", said Dan Jernigan, MD, MPH, director of the influenza division in the CDC's National Center for Immunization.

An emergency nurse treats flu patients in Escondido, California.

Thirty-nine states reported high flu traffic last week, up from 32 the week before.

If you think you've been exposed to flu and start to see symptoms, Quiran said to start treatment as soon as possible.

The United States was severely affected by the flu virus this season. If you get the flu, take steps to prevent passing the infection onto others. CDC still recommends that individuals who have not yet been vaccinated against influenza do so.

The strain, also known as the "Aussie flu", has been around for 50 years and was first called the "Hong Kong flu" in 1968.

H3N2 also caused havoc during the 1997-98 and 2003-04 seasons, and was baptized in 1968 as the "Hong Kong influenza".

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He said that although anyone can contract the flu, the majority of flu fatalities occur among those 65 and older, as well infants and other children.

In terms of patients who are being hospitalized with influenza, for the week ending January 20, 2018, the rate of hospitalizations are very similar to the 2014-15 season, according to Jernigan. People with these risk conditions are more likely to develop complications which can be life-threatening.

Vaccinate against the flu.

Officials have calculated the effectiveness at between 10 and 30 percent so far. It's the same main bug from last winter, when the flu season wasn't so bad.

Seek medical attention. People who develop flu-like symptoms should see a doctor right away.

"It can help reduce the overall severity of the symptoms and even the duration so fewer sick days and maybe you won't be hospitalized if you have that vaccine", Rainey said.

"Along with getting their flu shot, residents should be mindful about washing their hands often with soap and water and making sure things like doorknobs and phones are cleaned frequently to avoid the spread of germs", she said. Protect others by staying home, seeing a doctor if you are sick, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Hands should be washed frequently.