FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- The flu season, which got
off to an early and virulent start, continues to wind down, U.S.
health officials reported Friday.
Although still elevated, flu activity declined in most parts of
the United States during the week ending March 16, the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
According to the CDC:
This flu season has been especially tough on older people, with
slightly more than 50 percent of hospitalizations involving those
65 years and older.
One hundred and five children have died from the flu this
season, with six deaths reported last week, the CDC said. Of the
children who died, 90 percent had not received a flu vaccination,
The Associated Press.
There is no system to report adult deaths from the flu, but the
agency said the number of deaths remains higher than the threshold
used to declare a flu epidemic.
The predominant strain of circulating flu this season continues
to be influenza A H3N2, which typically poses bigger problems for
young children and the elderly, according to the CDC. But
predominant strains can vary across states and regions of the
country, the agency noted.
An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu and its
complications in a typical season, according to the CDC. From 1976
to 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States
ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000
Flu season usually peaks in late January or early February.
The best defense against the flu is the flu vaccine, the CDC
said. The agency recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older
Two antiviral medications, Tamiflu and Relenza, can reduce flu
symptoms and the course of the disease. To be effective, however,
they must be started within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, head and body aches,
and runny nose. People at particular risk for flu and its
complications include pregnant women, those 65 and older, and
anyone with a chronic illness. The CDC urges these people to get
the flu vaccine, which is available as an injection or nasal spray
and in a stronger dose for seniors.
For more on the flu, visit the
U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.