Aggressive flu epidemic set to strike twice this season

Aggressive flu epidemic set to strike twice this season
Aggressive flu epidemic set to strike twice this season
Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 12:49:00-05

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - This season the flu has killed more than 50 children and the virus shows no signs of slowing down.

The CDC said doctors have never seen this many patients come to the emergency room with the flu. So far, there have been 14,676 hospitalizations.

"We think we're at the peak of this Influenza A right now, but again, I thought we were at a peak a few weeks ago and it just kept going up," said University Hospitals Infectious Disease Dr. Claudia Hoyen. 

Hoyen said Influenza A typically hits people the hardest from December to February. After that, comes Influenza B, which tends to circulate from March until May. The virus is entirely different, which means people who've already been sick with the flu this season can get sick all over again.    

"Even patients who are coming into the hospital with Influenza A, if they haven't had their vaccine, we're really trying to make sure they're getting their vaccine before they go home because the last thing we want is for them to come back to the hospital in a few months with a different strain of the flu," Hoyen said.

The second time around, complications can be even worse, because your body is still recovering from the last time you had the flu.

"If you were to come down with the flu twice your risk for coming down with something like pneumonia might be increased, so you don't want to take that chance," Hoyen said.

According to the CDC, there are steps people should follow this flu season:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Practice other good health habits, including disinfecting surfaces, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active and eating nutritious food

Hoyen said the flu shot is still your best bet. Even if it doesn't keep you from getting the flu, it may help your body recover almost twice as fast. 

Doctors can't predict how late the flu season will run this year, but, at this rate, they said it's likely it'll stick around until May.

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