Flu Rates Hit Epidemic Proportions in the U.S.

As many people are finding out, vaccines do not provide 100 percent protection from the flu.

Posted: 01/11/2013 03:49 PM EST
Filed Under Health News, flu, influenza

Last year’s flu season was pretty mild.

This season? Not so much. It seems like every time you turn on the news there is another report about a city overwhelmed by this epidemic.

Forty-seven states have been affected. Some of the worse cases include Boston, which has declared the epidemic a state of emergency. There are reports that in Chicago, ER’s are turning people away and in New York City it’s been reported that 5 percent of all ER cases are flu-related. However, places like California and the Southwest region on the U.S. are reporting normal levels, says Reuters.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that this is the worst flu season we have seen in the past 10 years.

CNN reported that overall 20 children have died from the flu. Other stats:

Pennsylvania has had 22 deaths. Most of the deaths were among people older than 65.

Indiana has 13 confirmed adult deaths and two pediatric deaths.

Arkansas has seven confirmed flu fatalities.

—South Carolina has counted 22 deaths.

In Illinois, there have been six deaths.

In Michigan, there have been four pediatric deaths.

No, the flu is not a game. But there might be some good news.

CDC officials suggest that the epidemic may have peaked, but they won’t know for sure for a couple of weeks.

So what’s going on?

While flu season is completely unpredictable, this season started earlier than normal, hitting in early October. But a lot of blame has been pointed to the vaccines.

While 35 percent more people got vaccinated last year, the vaccines only protect us from 62 percent of all forms of the influenza virus, wrote USA Today.

This doesn’t mean don’t get a flu shot, but it’s important for you to know that getting a shot doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu.

In the end, we cannot avoid the inevitable. Too many of us are going to get sick or know someone who is sick. But there are ways to protect yourself.

The CDC suggests:

— Get your flu shot. I got mine the other day, it took 15 minutes.

— Avoiding close contact with people who have the flu.

— If you have the flu, keep your distance from others, you don’t want them to get sick either.

— Wash your hands as much as possible.

—Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.

 Learn more about the flu here.

 

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(Photo:  John Fedele / Getty Images)

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