Overall, there have been 1,988 lab confirmed cases since the beginning of September, as of the week ending January 5.
The predominant strain this year is influenza A H1N1, which officials say tends to have less severe symptoms than the predominant strain that circulated last season. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, nearly every county in the state is reporting significant flu activity.
Cases of influenza are continuing to ramp up across the country, with kids and teens bearing much of the brunt of the dreaded winter bug, say infectious diseases experts, predicting that the peak of the annual sneezing-coughing-feeling-miserable season is likely still several weeks away. We also work with outpatient departments within the Henry Ford and University of MI health systems to figure out what the vaccine does to prevent people going to the doctor to treat their flu symptoms. The flu vaccine can not give persons the flu, but may cause one to develop flu-like symptoms. Flu vaccines are safe and work well.
The CDC recommends older adults to get a pneumonia vaccine, along with the flu vaccine, due to complications pneumonia can cause as a result of the flu.
Flu cases are reportedly on the rise in North Texas this week. The sufferer was a 3-year-old girl who died December 21 at Rush-Copley Medical Heart.
"Last year it went all the way into spring", said Dr. Vincent Lee with Paragould Family Care. "If symptoms are mild and you want to tough it out at home, that is reasonable too".
Health officials said this season's flu strain is particularly targeting children.
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"This year, it's closer to 60 years old".
Last year, the vaccine was about 40 percent effective, the U.S. CDC said, while it was 48 percent effective in 2016-17 and 59 percent effective in 2015-16.
Jennifer Thomas, nursing director and administrator at the Mason County Health Department, said flu season can begin as early as September and last as long as April.
However, these figures reflect only cases in which testing was performed; many more people who come down with the flu don't seek medical assistance and therefore aren't tested.
The most common symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. When circulating viruses are substantially different from those in the vaccine, vaccine effectiveness can be reduced.
"Oftentimes people with the flu don't know they're sick and can (spread it) before they start having symptoms", said Angie Dickson, infection prevention manager at Providence.