Flu 2018: Bring On The Soup
Flu 2018: Current Status
We knew flu was going to hit hard this season, but not this hard. By week one of 2018 (ending Jan. 6), influenza activity estimates by the CDC show the US is experiencing widespread influenza. With nearly 25% of specimens testing positive for influenza over the past week, hospitals are clogged and pharmacies are experiencing shortages of over-the-counter flu medication. And this is just the beginning of the flu season – experts estimate it could last as long as May 2018.
Flu 2018: Why is it so widespread?
The truth is, scientists were not prepared for this year’s H3N2 strain to show immunity to this year’s version of flu shot. While it’s estimated that at least 150 million flu vaccines were distributed this 2017-18 season, only 10% were effective. Compared with a reported effectiveness of 40-60% in previous years, this is an unexpected low.
Flu 2018: How does it spread?
Kate Murphy from the New York Times explains perfectly how this year’s H3N2 strain spreads. The flu is spread by droplets in air. When inhaled, the virus latches to mucous in the back of your nose, throat and bronchial tubes. It replicates by hijacking the cells that make up mucous, spreading over one to four days. You won’t even know it’s there until the virus colonizes in your respiratory tract, which is when your body rallies its own troops to fight the invaders.
The internal fight your body has with the virus causes you to dehydrate, have a fever, headaches, and muscular aches and pains. Your body will attempt to expel the virus by causing you to cough, sneeze and have a runny nose.
Fortunately, doctors have some recommendations for preventing and expelling the flu.
Flu 2018: What should you do?
If you have a weakened immune system or have trouble breathing, you should consult your doctor. Remember, the first few days of the flu goes unnoticed by your body, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you are a generally healthy individual, you should understand how the flu affects your body and consider getting this season’s flu shot. Despite the immunization’s lack of effectiveness on this year’s H3N2 viral strain, it has higher effectiveness over other strains of flu and might reduce the severity of symptoms of the flu you contract.
If you have the flu, see a doctor. At WellNow, we have walk-in and scheduled visits with quick turn-around times and an in-house pharmacy. Otherwise, it is generally recommended to rest, drink fluids, eat soup, walk around a little each day and breathe in fresh air. The flu can spread to people surrounding you as far as 6 feet, so try to keep to yourself for a while as not to spread it.
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