Published: Thu, December 28, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

CDC: We Could Be In For A Nasty Flu Season

CDC: We Could Be In For A Nasty Flu Season

However, Mobile County Health Department officials say that could change in the coming weeks.

This is the highest number of seasonal cases this early since influenza tests became reportable.

"My feeling is, probably, we have not peaked yet", he said.

Treatment is available if you act quickly - A fever, sudden onset of a cough, congestion, runny nose, and body aches or chills are all signs. A recent report published in the open access publishing platform F1000Research, however, indicates that the flu vaccine may end up being more effective for the Northern Hemisphere's 2017-2018 flu season than it was in Australia, where the vaccine's effectiveness was only 10% for the season.

Additionally, a map from the CDC shows that there is widespread flu activity in 23 states across the country.

Four states experienced high flu activity (Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas), while five states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, and Kentucky) experienced moderate activity.

"Symptoms are like a cold but will be worse than a cold, typically", Dr. Holder said.

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"So far, what we're seeing is a significant ramp-up", he said.

Each year, a flu vaccine is created to target strains of the viruses expected to be most dominant that particular season. However, unlike Martinello or Siniscalchi, he said the numbers didn't seem different from what he'd seen in past years. Anyone who is sick with the flu should go to his or her primary doctor or to an urgent care, not the emergency room unless there is an emergency. "Minister of Health Kim Wilson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cheryl Peek-Ball are leading by example and have already been vaccinated", the Department said.

Winter months usually bring a spike in illnesses, Austin said. Influenza-like illness is widespread across the state.

Flu experts at the CDC say its too early to know when flu season will peak in the United States and how severe it will be.

Although the last couple of flu seasons have been relatively mild, some of the misinformation related to the flu has contributed to consumer behavior and the low rate of use. This year, there is again an option for a trivalent (3-strain) vaccine, which protects from the three most common flu strains, or the quadrivalent (4-strain) vaccine, which includes one additional strain.

However, though there were more cases, and, hence, more hospitalizations and deaths, than normal, the department pointed out that the infection itself was "no more serious than in previous seasons".

Nurse B.K. Morris gives a flu shot to Winifred Quinn during a news event about the flu vaccine September 17, 2015, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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