Tag Archives: flu deaths

Beware of Germs as Flu Season Ends

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly flu report said Delaware, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin reported low influenza-like illness, while the remaining 42 states reported minimal influenza-like illness, according to the UPI.

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A total of 65 influenza related pediatric deaths were reported in the 2013-2014 flu season.

Besides the obvious flu shot which I recommend strongly at the beginning of the flu season, I wanted to pass along some others which are a good idea to observe year ’round to remain healthy.

We share our world with lots of germs which can be very damaging to our health. WebMD
offered the following suggestions on navigating this germy world:

1. Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water. It can dislodge germs and send them down the drain.

2. Carry hand sanitizer. It’s handy if you can’t wash your hands, especially if you’re touching surfaces that other people use, like ATM keyboards, elevator buttons, and door handles.

3. Let something else do the touching. If you’re in a germy place, like a doctor’s office building or your child’s day care, press elevator buttons with your elbow, and use a paper towel to open bathroom doors and flush toilets. Only use banisters or escalator handrails if you need to for balance.  Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, mouth, and ears, so that germs on your hands don’t enter your body.

4. Wipe down shared surfaces. Use your hand sanitizer or a package of sanitizing wipes to clean off spots such as food court tables (they’re often just wiped down with a rag that only spreads germs around) or the desk or phones in shared office spaces.

5. Leave the germs outside. When you come home, take off your shoes and wash your hands. That’s a family rule for Bridget Boyd, MD, director of the newborn nursery at Chicago’s Loyola University Health Center. “My husband and I are both in the health care field, and my son goes to day care, so who knows what’s on our shoes?” she says. “But it makes sense for anyone. It’s a good idea to wash off germs and dirt when you come home.”

Tony

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CDC Reports Flu Hit Younger People Particularly Hard This Season

Vaccination lowered risk of having to go to the doctor by about 60 percent for people of all ages

This influenza season was particularly hard on younger- and middle-age adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). People age 18-64 represented 61 percent of all hospitalizations from influenza—up from the previous three seasons when this age group represented only about 35 percent of all such hospitalizations. Influenza deaths followed the same pattern; more deaths than usual occurred in this younger age group.

A second report in this week’s MMWR showed that influenza vaccination offered substantial protection against the flu this season, reducing a vaccinated person’s risk of having to go to the doctor for flu illness by about 60 percent across all ages.

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“Flu hospitalizations and deaths in people younger- and middle-aged adults is a sad and difficult reminder that flu can be serious for anyone, not just the very young and old; and that everyone should be vaccinated,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The good news is that this season’s vaccine is doing its job, protecting people across all age groups.”

U.S. flu surveillance data suggests that flu activity is likely to continue for a number of weeks, especially in places where activity started later in the season. Some states that saw earlier increases in flu activity are now seeing decreases. Other states are still seeing high levels of flu activity or continued increases in activity.

While flu is responsible for serious illness and death every season, the people who are most affected can vary by season and by the predominant influenza virus. The currently circulating H1N1 virus emerged in 2009 to trigger a pandemic, which was notable for high rates of hospitalization and death in younger- and middle-aged people. While H1N1 viruses have continued to circulate since the pandemic, this is the first season since the pandemic they have been predominant in the U.S. Once again, the virus is causing severe illness in younger- and middle-aged people. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, Centers for Disease Control, cold symptoms, cold weather, congestion, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, flu symptoms

Flu Outbreaks Spike – CDC

As if the current bone-chilling cold snap (can you say Polar Vortex?) weren’t enough to worry about six days into the new year, flu outbreaks have spiked in the latest week, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Unfortunately for those of us affected by the cold, it aggravates the situation. As we huddle together to keep warm, we help to spread the virus, according to Dr. Manny Alvarez on Fox News. In addition, “the immune system in your body doesn’t work properly when you have temperatures below zero,” also “viruses love the cold and wet,” he concluded.

Some 25 states are now reporting widespread flu outbreaks. This is a jump of 10 from the previous week.

So far, two children died as a result of flu this week. The total now stands at six flu-associated pediatric deaths.

Click on map for enlarged view.

Click on map for enlarged view.

It appears that the current virulent strain is striking the young and middle-aged very hard.

Despite the apparent lateness in the season, doctors say it is still not too late to get your flu shot. Doctors report that it reduces your risk of catching the flu by 70 percent.

The map displays the widespread nature of the flu till December 28, the latest graphic data available.

I have written repeatedly about combating the flu. You can read details on my Page – How to fight the flu.

Here are some FLU PREVENTION TIPS:

Avoid close contact with sick people.

Cover sneezes and coughs with tissue or crook of elbow, not hands.

Wash hands often with soap and water.

Drink plenty of fluids, but not alcohol.

Get a flu shot.

Tony

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Tips on Fighting the Flu – WebMD

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized every year and between 3,000 and 50,000 deaths occur due to flu. There is a good chance that these statistics would improve dramatically if more people got  a flu shot.
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WebMD queried doctors on flu prevention and reported that doctors had the following recommendations on fighting the flu.:

Wash your hands to keep germs away. “I wash my hands or use a hand sanitizer before and after every patient,” says Christopher Tolcher, MD, a pediatrician in the Los Angeles area and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

“Hands are veritable germ factories, so keep them away from your nose and mouth. Also keep them away from your food during cold and flu season.”

They also recommended alcohol based cleansers and antiseptic wipes.

Exercise for Immunity“I try to get 20 to 30 minutes of cardio every morning before I go to work,” Fryhofer says. “There’s something about making your heart pump that’s good for your body. It strengthens your heart and strengthens your immune system,”   says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, MACP, clinical associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine and a general internist in Atlanta.

Chicken soup Although doctors use over-the-counter drugs when their symptoms are severe, they only do it sparingly. They recommend nice hot chicken soup because the vapor clears nasal passages and relieves throbbing in the sinuses

The key is prevention
The experts agree that prevention is the key. They all say that a flu shot is essential and they recommend staying in the best health year-round.

Regular readers already know that I strongly favor getting a flu shot and early in the season. That would be late September or early October. It usually takes the vaccine two weeks to start working. As flu season extends into the new year, the vaccine should be effective for several months of protection.

To read further on flu fighting check out my page How to Fight the Flu.

Tony

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Flu Season Picking Up

We are experiencing an early flu season this year, the earliest since 2003.  There is good news in that the Centers for Disease Control reports that this year’s vaccine is a very good match for the common strains circulating. I repeat my suggestion of October 10, “Get a flu shot.”

With that in mind, I wondered what are a body’s chances of coming down with it. WebMD, gives some really useful statistics on the flu.

Of particular interest to seniors, are:

• One of the national health objectives for 2010 included getting 90% of people over age 65 and all nursing home residents vaccinated.
• In 2008, the estimated vaccination levels for people over age 65 was: 70% for non-Hispanic whites, 52% for non-Hispanic blacks, and 52% for Hispanics.”

I took a course from The Great Courses entitled “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age.”  The professor, Dr. Anthony Goodman, stated that for people over 65 influenza is the most common preventable cause of death. Additionally, vaccinations in adults could prevent about 80% of all influenza deaths.

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For the general population:

• Percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year: between 5% and 20%.
• Number of Americans hospitalized each year because of flu complications: 200,000 on average.
• The number of people who die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.: varies with a range of 3,000-49,000 people yearly
• In the U.S., influenza and pneumonia were the eighth leading cause of death in 2007.
• Number of flu vaccine doses available in the U.S. for the 2010-2011 flu season: 160 million to 165 million.
• In 2010, the CDC began recommending that everyone over six months of age get a flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.
• Flu activity usually peaks in January and February.
• The 2010-2011 flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic.
• It takes about two weeks after vaccination for an adult to develop antibodies against the flu.
• The typical incubation period for the flu is one to four days. Adults can be contagious from the day before symptoms begin through five to 10 days after the illness starts.
• A regular case of the flu typically resolves after three to seven days for the majority of people, although cough and fatigue can persist for more than two weeks.

Tony

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Filed under aging, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, men's health, seniors, Uncategorized, winter