The flu virus is finally back sincerely. Flu season activity is high in the United States, and the experts expect a lot more cases and hospitalizations will occur in the coming weeks. One bright spot is that this year’s vaccines seem well suited to the current situation circulating flu strainsthey should therefore provide valuable protection against viral infection.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the latest weekly discoveries from his Routine Influenza Surveillance Program, which tracks influenza-related hospitalizations and outpatient visits for influenza-like illnesses.
Based on these data, influenza activity is high to very high in 35 states and territories, particularly in the eastern and southern regions of the country. The cumulative hospitalization rate at this stage of the year (week 46) is also the highest since 2010-2011 flu season. Overall, the CDC estimates there have been at least 6.2 million illnesses, 53,000 hospitalizations and 2,900 deaths from influenza since October, including 12 confirmed pediatric deaths. And since there is still so much of the holiday to enjoy, these case numbers will only increase.
“We will likely see an increase in the coming weeks,” said Lynnette Brammer, epidemiologist and head of the CDC’s influenza surveillance team. atld BNC News.
Since the arrival of covid-19 at the end of 2019, the flu has become much less frequent. Influenza was virtually non-existent during the winter of 2020 to 2021, while last winter’s flu season was weird but stay much sweeter than usual. There are likely several reasons why a supposed ‘twindemia’ featuring influenza and covid-19 never happened, including the recent speculation that respiratory viruses in general tend to crowd each other out. But a major factor behind his disappearance is thought to be due to the physical distancing precautions that were imposed or taken voluntarily by many people to limit the spread of covid, which might have worked even better to prevent less contagious diseases like the flu. These precautions have largely diminished and, in turn, many garden variety infections have returned.
For example, the United States experienced a more serious and earlier crisis.that-usual spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, infections this year. RSV usually causes a mild cold in most cases, but it can put the lives of young people at risk children and the elderly. Due to the influx, many children’s hospitals have reported much higher levels of RSV-related hospitalizations than even seen during the normal RSV season. There is speculation that infection with covid-19 has weakened children’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to severe RSV, but many experts Argue that declining population immunity alone is sufficient to explain these surges.
Fortunately, RSV cases now appear to be to slow down in the USA. And while many people are still getting sick and dying from covid-19, the threat of a massive wave arriving this winter as in the past stay weak for the moment. We can even get relatively lucky with the flu, since this year’s vaccine matches well with the majority of circulating flu strains, according to the CDC.
Of course, just because this winter won’t be as bad as recent ones when it comes to respiratory diseases doesn’t mean we should neglect the sensible precautions. Getting your updated covid-19 reminder and annual flu shot will reduce your risk of snot-related misery and serious complications this holiday season, and other measures like staying home when sick or wearing masks in high-risk situations can help limit the spread of flu, covid-19, RSV and other germs.