Flu cases on the rise in Central Florida

Big jump in the number of flu cases across the country this season

California health officials say flu-related deaths have been higher so far this season than in recent years, raising concerns the illness might prove more severe.

The flu vaccine changes from year to year to try to protect the general public against what doctors suspect will be the predominant flu strains of the season. That's leading health officials to believe this is a more risky strain.

Cases of swine flu and the B strain have also been detected in Ireland.

This year, about 80 percent of confirmed flu cases so far are due to this strain of the flu, The New York Times reports.

No one in Kern County had died of the flu through January 4, but three were hospitalized, Kern County Public Health Director Matt Constantine said at a morning press conference addressing the local impact of influenza. It has been dubbed Aussie flu as it is the same strain that caused big problems for Australia during its winter season, leading to its worst flu season for almost a decade.

While flu is unpredictable, the peak season typically lasts about a month, she said.

In Los Angeles County, officials reported 26 flu-related deaths this season through the end of 2017, while San Diego County's health and human services agency reported a total of 45, including a 12-month-old baby. They said about 100 people under age 65 die in a standard season and up to 300 have died during severe seasons.

Cindy Ramirez may be reached at 546-6151; cramirez@elpasotimes.com; @EPTCindyRamirez on Twitter. The second way, and probably the easiest, is to wash your hands. The crook of your elbow will do. Fever in older children and adults is rarer.

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Those who are looking to take preventive measures, Rhoades recommends one medical resource that has not seen any type of shortage and that's the flu shot.

What is the difference between a cold and the flu?

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Texas and Arkansas are the states seeing the most people coming in to hospital emergency departments complaining of dehydration and difficulty breathing. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

"If you feel you have symptoms, you should consult undertheweather.ie and that's a great resource".

Children will sometimes cry but produce no tears if they have the flu. Limiting the number of visitors per patient will help control the spread of the illness.

What if I get sick?

Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Stay safe and attentive towards the symptoms of flu by which you can take proper medications. If you're lucky, you may have mild symptoms like a cough and a runny nose. Officials also want people to avoid spreading the flu and to know when it's okay to be cared for at home and when they should get medical care. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub and rub your hands together well.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

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