As of Friday, January 10th the flu has spread across the nation with 35 states dealing with widespread influenza as reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today.
Deaths have spread as well, although it isn't uncommon for people to die from the flu and average deaths have been seen anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 a year, depending on the season. This flu has the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) concerned.
What is concerning is that it is the similar strain that wreaked havoc on our nation in 2009, the swine flu, or H1N1. While it’s not worse than the average flu season yet, officials say they’re keeping a close eye on this strain that is affecting young adults harder than what is more commonly seen in older adults.
“What we wonder now is whether there is a greater risk among kids and young adults,” CDC flu expert Dr. Joe Bresee says.
Hospitals are setting up tents and outdoor stations in an effort to treat the jump in the number of patients with flu-like symptoms, which has their emergency rooms overflowing.
When patients were appeared shocked at the overflowing emergency rooms, ER medical director at the Regional Medical Center Of San Jose, Dr. Elaine Nelson said it is necessary and a good safety measure.
"We have seen approximately 50 to 70 more patients per day than what we usually see," said Dr. Nelson. "We're trying to meet them right up front and escort them over to this area where we can keep the different patient populations separate from each other."
And according to KTVU television , the Regional Medical Center Of San Jose expects the spike to continue so they have begun setting up a bigger tent expecting Thursday to triple patient capacity.
Doctor Michael Jhung, a medical officer in the flu division of the CDC says it’s too early to tell for sure, but the vaccine appears to match the circulating strain of H1N1 flu well. The vaccine also protects against a strain of H3N2 flu and either one or two strains of influenza B.
The CDC says that the vaccine currently available has kept approximately 80,000 people out of the hospital - and could have prevented 6.6 million cases of the flu. They are strongly suggesting that Americans get vaccinated.
Some good advice is if you are sick stay home. Wash your hands frequently and eat and drink as healthy as possible.
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