Worsening Flu Season Has Many Afraid, Grieving

The Flu is Killing Up to 4,000 Americans a WeekMore

During the 2016-17 season, when the same strain was predominant, 47 influenza-related deaths were reported in New Hampshire, including two involving children.

Since the fourth week of January, flu resulted in the deaths of another 16 children, bringing the total pediatric deaths to at least 53 this season.

Levels of pneumonia and influenza deaths are consistent with similar severe years, she said, but hospitalizations have shown no signs of leveling off yet.

Since mid December the number of cases has skyrocketed.

In Suffolk, there have been over 3,700 cases of the flu this season, with 782 new cases reported last week. "The flu vaccine will cover some strains, although it is not as effective for the predominate strain for this season". "Facilities that are experiencing high rates of flu should ensure that they are cleaning and disinfecting regularly and that ill individuals are isolated to help prevent additional cases of the flu". In Ste. Genevieve County, adults ages 24 to 50 have been affected at a slightly higher number than children.

Sheena Moore administers flu shot at a Suffolk County clinic in Great River, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Children in Ste. Genevieve are more likely to be vaccinated in part due to the in-school flu vaccination program administered by the Ste.

"The health and wellness of our residents is of utmost importance", said County Executive Bellone. However, history teacher Dave Waterhouse, who had the flu this year, did not receive the flu vaccine. In past seasons such as this, she said, an estimated 34 million Americans got the flu. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to hospitalization or death. The exceptions are those at high risk: the very young, the very old, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Patients whose symptoms began within 48 hours are encouraged to ask their provider whether an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu is appropriate.

With this year's flu season being the worst since the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak, people across the country are donning medical masks when they go out into public in an attempt to prevent themselves from getting sick.

Dr. Mark Loeb, an infectious disease expert with the department of medicine at McMaster University, told CBC's The Morning Edition components of influenza A an B are in every flu vaccine.

"You also can help reduce the spread of flu through simple good health habits, like staying away from people who are sick, frequently washing your hands and covering your cough and sneeze", says Schuchat who stressed staying home if you're sick, "For those who are already sick, please stay home from work or school".