A nasty flu season is in full swing across the United States, with a sharp increase in the number of older people and young children getting hospitalized, federal health officials said Friday.
Over the last 13 years there have only been two seasons where the CDC has characterized the flu season as "high severity". The majority of the cases (136) involved people aged 65 and over.
Data from some mid-Missouri counties show the number of confirmed flu cases doubled compared to the 2016-17 flu season.
The release says the predominant strain of flu in the state is Influenza A (H3N2).
Morgan said H3N2 is the dominant strain this year, making the vaccine somewhat less effective.
"The manufacturers are reporting that they've shipped more than 151 million doses of flu vaccine so there should be product available to folks. Showing up with those influenza like illnesses".
Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches, and fatigue.
The flu has taken the lives of a 20-year-old Arizona mom, a 21-year-old Pennsylvania fitness enthusiast, and a 51-year-old MA mother of two in recent weeks.
Health officials reminds folks the best prevention is proper hygiene, particularly hand-washing and if you're sick stay home from school or work. Statewide there have been 27 flu deaths of patients under the age of 65. Between Dec. 24, 2017 and January 6, 2018, 1,016 patients out of the 2,532 tested, or 40 percent, tested positive for flu. The virus claimed the lives of 20 children in the state in 2017, but no pediatric deaths have been reported thus far in 2018.
Fewer than half of all Americans have been vaccinated in recent flu seasons.
While the flu and common cold are respiratory illnesses that share some symptoms, you should be aware of the differences to protect yourself and your family.
Still, doctors at Sanford and CHI St. Alexius recommend people who haven't yet gotten a flu shot to get one now.
"Just remember, the best way to prevent influenza is to get a vaccine".
"We're all very concerned in public health that it may be a severe year", said Randi Pedersen, an epidemiologist who monitors flu in Idaho.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. They say it can protect you from the other strains, and it can help you if do end up getting sick.