Health agency: Flu surge continues in Arizona

Health agency: Flu surge continues in Arizona

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported the state's first pediatric flu death of the season.

And if you need a little incentive, know that Nevada is listed as one of 26 states with high flu activity this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the child was 18-months-old.

ODH also is reporting more than 1,700 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December. The state has seen over 3,800 flu-associated hospitalizations this season. New healthy individuals with a normal immune system are more protected from older people with impaired immune function.

White County Public Health nurse Marsha Oilar says she administers 600 doses of the flu vaccine each year.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says flu activity in the USA increased sharply during the first week of January, and is now categorized as widespread in 46 states.

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Regardless of current gripes or criticism you might hear regarding the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, get a shot anyway. Two strains of the virus are affecting the population - the dominant and more severe influenza A strain (H3N2) which mostly impacts the elderly, and an influenza B/Yamagata strain which affects both adults and children. "We usually say over and over again that the season would peak around the fifth or sixth week of the year, so in early February".

Each year the formula for the vaccine is developed based on last year's flu virus. "But if you do get vaccinated and get influenza, hopefully, your symptoms will be less severe". Earlier reports had said Australia's flu vaccine was only 10 percent effective, but that doesn't mean US vaccines rated the same. Normally people who have the flu have a combination of fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season.

According to US officials, the flu vaccine is still the best way to safeguard your immune system against influenza.

In addition to vaccination, public information officer Alexandra Reed said consistent hand washing and staying home if you are sick are the keys to preventing the virus' spread. "And if they do get sick, try to reach their health district for antiviral medication".

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