Now the flu season in the United States may be reaching a peak and so far it looks like a more severe season than others in recent memory.
John yang gets an update on why and what you need to know this flu season started earlier than in the past and
The Centers for Disease Control says it’s the most widespread outbreak it has ever seen.
Officials say doctor’s visits are climbing and pediatric deaths from the floor up as well at least 20 so far, the CDC says the flu leads to the deaths of thousands of Americans each year to bring us the latest on the current flu season.
A family medicine physician at Georgetown University and the health and medial fellow at the NewsHour asked:
dr. why is this season so bad?
This season is bad because this year we’re seeing more people with influenza A now, in the past we’ve seen a season
with influenza A means that we have more cases of the flu we have more hospitalizations and ultimately more deaths because of the flu,
and so that’s a concern this year as influenza A is a predominant flu strand and what makes it influenza A so problematic right it changes so quickly so even though we have the vaccine that’s made several months before the flu season.
actually begins here in the US the virus itself changes that it’s not an exact match to the actual vaccine so that is a point of
concern but it’s important to know that even though that may be the case if you get a flu vaccine you are less likely to have hospitalizations and then this the flu itself.
if you do get it after getting the vaccine your your symptoms are less severe and how effective is this vaccine this year all right it’s around 32 percent that’s what experts think for this year which is a little less than it has been in previous years
but again it’s better to get it than not get it better to be covered than not and could this season get even worse it.
could the question is though where are we in the flu season so like you were saying before we know that the flu season started a little bit earlier than it usually does but the question is are we at the peak of the season or is this a trend that is going upward so those questions we still don’t know the answers to until the flu season is over okay a little practical advice for people now when should someone go to the doctor a lot of people try to tough it out.
I see them in the aisles of the drugstores when should they decide to go to the doctor whenever you feel sick you should
either either think about going to the doctor or just call if you have any questions the symptoms of the flu are fevers chills night sweats cough feeling really horrible and those are also symptoms of a cold.
so it’s really hard to decipher which one is which and that’s our job to help you and be able to treat if we think that it is the flu is it too late for people to get a flu shot nope not not too late at all you can go to your clinic or you can go to the local pharmacy and still get a flu vaccine now.
and the people who should get it of course it’s people who are the age of six months and above but then also those who are pregnant those who may have some long term chronic diseases like heart disease we also know for influenza A those who are older and younger or the ones who are at more risk of having complications from it.
so those are the people that were saying you definitely need to get your flu vaccine two things I hear a lot of people say I never get the flu or if I get a shot I’m afraid I’m gonna get the flu what do you say to those folks well for the first one that
you people who say that they’ve never gotten the flu I hear so many patients say that they wish they would have gotten the vaccine once they get the flu so I would say you know even with your thoughts of not getting the flu it’s good to have some protection than no protection and with the flu being something that we’re giving you in the flu vaccine
that’s not necessarily true in the vaccine itself it’s using an inactivated flu virus meaning that it’s not a living virus and what that does is it helps your system be aware of the flu and what it looks like so that when you do come in contact with an active virus your body knows what to do and those fighter cells can go ahead and fight that flu.
we’ve heard a lot of talk about a shore of the antivirals like Tamiflu,
what is there what’s that about?
right so there are some places where it’s hard to get those antivirals and usually those
places are the places that have a lot of flu cases but overall in the United States there is not a shortage it’s just depending on where you’re trying to get the medication so if you’re in one of those places where you know that there are a lot of people who have the flu just calling your pharmacy and seeing if they have the medication would be helpful and again that medication is good to have when you’re in the first two days of the virus
because it helps shorten the duration of having the flu and also decreases the severity of the symptom.