Peak flu season arrives in Hamilton County

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Other areas across the country and in the United States have been experiencing a similarly bad flu season. No children were reported among the flu-related deaths for the most recent week, but three minors have died in North Carolina since the flu season began October 1.

Health reports state that nearly all of the patients who died from the virus were over the age of 50.

Forty-nine states have reported widespread activity for three consecutive weeks.

Flu activity worsened over the past week as more people headed to doctors' offices and emergency rooms, with hospitalizations at the highest in almost 10 years, US health officials said on Friday.

Another two flu-related deaths among children were reported this week bringing the total for the state to five. Sixteen of those deaths were reported in this week's update.

The death total from the 2017-18 flu season has climbed sharply again, reaching 95 for the week that ended January 27.

Officials say the three deaths were all adults, ranging in age from just 18 years old, up to 95 years old.

Getting the shot can reduce the severity of flu symptoms, but if you get sick, you still need to stay home and cover your coughs and sneezes. Hospitalization rates have been four times higher than officials have ever seen in California, and double the 2014-2015 records in OR and Minnesota. This is not surprising for this time in the flu season, especially with the volume of patients presenting with flu symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this year's flu season is may be worse than any in almost a decade, and is nowhere close to being over yet.

The mid-season estimate for the vaccine's ability to provide protection from this particular influenza strain is in line with what Australia experienced during the southern hemisphere's flu season, which ended in late August as Canada's was about to begin. There are as many as 56,000 deaths connected to the flu during a bad year.

In one sign of good news, Schuchat said the outbreak appears to be easing up in the West. The flu usually peaks in February.

"The primary care doctor's office, Lee Health's Convenient Care offices, or other urgent or walk-in medical centers are appropriate venues for medical care, as they can diagnose and treat the flu", she said.

"Tragically, the influenza virus has claimed the lives of 100 Kentuckians so far this season", said Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, Acting DPH Commissioner.

"When they come in, we got to get masks on them real quickly", he said.

The hospital has coped by increasing staffing and streamlining its triaging process. "They're trying to keep the scale high and keep the costs low, so that more people can have access to the flu vaccine".

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