Flu-related hospitalizations rise in the Valley

Ohio County elementary student dies from the flu

Between Oct. 1, 2017 - when the flu season began - and January 13, 2018, the California Department of Public Health reported 74 flu deaths for people 65 and under.

In Mobile County, there have been almost 1,200 confirmed cases of the flu. "At the end of 2017 we had seen between four and five times what we usually see for positive influenza A diagnoses which is over the top, and that's against our five year average".

The flu season has proven to be particularly deadly this year, both locally and statewide.

A spokeswoman with the state health department says they do not believe this year's strain of the virus is any more aggressive or contagious than others from years past. Antiviral drugs can make the illness shorter and milder and prevent severe complications and hospitalizations.

By far, the northeast region of MA - which includes the Merrimack Valley - has fared the worst this flu season. Secondly, as we just mentioned, the flu shot is somewhat less effective this year than in past years.

"We are not seeing it as much as everyone else", she said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the flu.

One Montrose-based health organization says it saw 735 patients with the flu last month, compared to December 2016 when it saw only 34 patients with the flu. Different strains of influenza circulate each year.

Michigan, along with 48 other states in the USA, was declared by the Centers for Disease Control to have "Widespread" influenza activity, especially for an aggressive strain known as influenza A H3N2. "We haven't had any local (flue-related) deaths to date, none that's been reported back to us". Public Health England reports that this particularly vicious virus has also caused 85 deaths in the United Kingdom since the beginning of October.

The flu has left hospital emergency rooms across the Southland overflowing with patients.

The public health director said there are many reasons to get a flu vaccine.

The flu is now widespread in all lower 48 states, and the best advice to help protect yourself from the flu according to Gamble, "If you haven't gotten your flu vaccine, get it".

Not only are there more cases, flu season hit the hospital earlier this year than it did the last. Get the flu shot if you haven't yet, practice good handwashing, and stay home if you're ill.

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