Flu deaths in California surpass 150

Worsening Flu Season Has Many Afraid, Grieving

It's not too late to get a flu shot.

Flu season is showing no sign of slowing down, and parts of the country may be experiencing a second wave of illness.

Doctors say they're a bit bewildered as to why this season is so intense. "Hospitals have made modifications such as changing visiting hours, implementing the use of mobile units, and providing additional staff to protect those patients at greatest risk of the flu".

"Right now, we're focused on one class of antiviral drug, but we should be looking at combination therapies and other modalities, such as host-directed therapies", said Timothy Uyeki, MD, of the CDC in Atlanta.

Malas says an effective preventative measure to stop the flu is isolation.

"The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia & influenza is 10.1 percent this week".

There are many simple ways to prevent the spread of the flu once someone is diagnosed.

"With this year's circulating influenza viruses, people are still able to get partial protection through the vaccine, and some protection is definitely better than none".

The government report shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu.

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Epidemiologists and virus experts don't have an explanation yet for why the flu this season has been worse than usual, Schuchat said.

In response to the alarming number of flu cases, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo directed the state health commissioner Thursday to authorize emergency funding to New York's 62 counties, with the flu season typically being over by the end of May.

This year's flu vaccine proved more effective against three influenza strains, but the fourth, H3N2, proved challenging.

Throughout most of the nation, the flu appears to remain on the rise, Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat, MD, said at a briefing February 9.

Earlier this week, the Maryland Department of Health confirmed the first influenza-associated pediatric death in the state for this flu season.

"We're still characterizing this year's virus", Schuchat said. She is one of 63 children who has died from the virus so far this year, compared to 20 at this point last year.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

"Students who have not (gotten) the flu vaccine and have not experienced influenza-like symptoms yet should consider receiving the flu vaccine", said Dr. Marshall in an email interview. There are also side effects of the flu vaccine, including soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, body aches, and low grade fevers.

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