US flu season starts fast as other viruses spread

US flu season starts fast as other viruses spread

ISSUE. — AS POSSIBLE. DR. TODD ​​ELLERMAN BREAKS DOWN THESE TIPS. FLU SEASON WARNINGS ARE GROWING. THE VIRUS CAME EARLY AND HAS BEEN MOST SEVERE IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, AN INDICATOR OF WHAT WE COULD FACE HERE, BUT DR. TODD ​​​​ELLER AND SAYS THERE ARE 5 — FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW. NUMBER ONE, TRY TWICE. >> SINGLE TEST DOES NOT EXCLUDE INFLUENZA. JESICA: DR. ELLERMAN SAYS YOU NEED TWO QUICK TESTS IF YOU WANT TO BE SURE YOU DON’T HAVE THE VIRUS. NUMBER TWO, THE FLU SHOT PROTECTS AGAINST SERIOUS ILLNESS. >> EVEN IF YOU GET SICK — FLU AFTER BEING VACCINATED, THE SAME IS TRUE WITH COVID. JESSICA: MASKS WORK AGAINST THE FLU. >> DOES IT MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO MASK ALL THE TIME? NO. BUT YOU WANT TO ASSESS YOUR INDIVIDUAL RISK. JESSICA: THE RISK FACTORS ARE THE SAME AS COVID. >> IF YOU HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED TO USE ONE OF THE VACCINES, MAKE SURE YOU GET THE OTHER, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE AT HIGHER RISK, EITHER FOR CARDIOVASCULAR OR LUNG DISEASE. MAKE SURE YOU GET BOTH. WE EXPECT MORE INFLUENZA THIS SEASON. THERE WILL BE PEOPLE GETTING BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. JESSICA: LASTLY, IF YOU ARE HIGH RISK, GET TAMIFLU. >> THERE IS AN ANTIVIRAL THAT WILL HELP REDUCE SYMPTOMS AND MAY KEEP YOU AWAY FROM SYMPTOMS. JESSICA: WE LEARNED A LOT DURING THE PANDEMIC THAT CAN PREPARE US FOR A MORE DIFFICULT FLU SEASON. >> NOBODY SAYS WE HAVE TO MASK ALL THE TIME IN ALL SITUATIONS, BUT THERE ARE SIMPLE STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO MITIGATE AGAINST SERIOUS ILLNESS. JESSICA: THE LATEST WEEKLY FLU TRACKER REPORTED EARLY INCREASES IN FLU ACTIVITY IN THE US WITH THE HIGHEST CASES IN SOUTHEASTERN AND SOUTH-CENTRAL STATES. MASSACHUSETTS IS SEEING MINIMUM LEVELS OF FLU AND WIT

The US flu season is off to an unusually fast start, adding to an autumnal mix of viruses that has been filling hospitals and doctors’ waiting rooms. Flu reports are already high in 17 states, and the hospitalization rate hasn’t been as high this year. early since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, there have been an estimated 730 deaths from influenza, including at least two children. The winter flu season typically picks up in December or January. “We are seeing more cases than we expected right now,” said Dr. José of the CDC. Romero said on Friday. A peak flu season is not unexpected. The nation experienced two mild seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts worry the flu could return with a vengeance as a COVID-weary public has moved away from masks and other measures that control the spread of respiratory viruses. . Montessori Community School in New Albany, Indiana, switched to virtual teaching at the end of the week because many students were sick with the flu. Starting Monday, all 500 students at the school will be wearing masks again. “Everybody wants kids on campus, that’s for sure,” said school principal Burke Fondren. “We will do what we have to do.” There may be good news: COVID-19 cases have been trending down and stabilizing over the past three weeks, Romero said. And in some parts of the country, health officials think they may see early signs that a wave of another respiratory virus may be starting to subside. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of cold-like symptoms in children, including a runny nose, cough, and fever. While RSV continues to rise nationally, preliminary data suggests a decline in the Southeast, Southwest and in an area that includes the Rocky Mountain states and the Dakotas, CDC officials said. were during the pandemic lockdowns. In addition, the virus, which usually affects 1- and 2-year-olds, is now making more children as young as 5 years old sick. At University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, beds have been full for 54 days “All the curves are going up for RSV and influenza,” said Dr. John Cunningham, Comer’s chief physician. RSV illnesses appear to be unusually severe, he added. Comer has had to turn down transfer requests from other hospitals. because there was no room. Hospitals in the Chicago area had been able to transfer children to Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin, but that stopped. “They also don’t have any more beds,” Cunningham said. There is no RSV vaccine yet, but there are flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Health officials say flu shots are down in both children and adults compared to before the pandemic, though they are up in children from last year. So far this season, there have been an estimated 1.6 million cases of the flu and 13,000 hospitalizations. Flu activity is most intense in some of the areas where RSV is fading, including the Southeast, according to CDC data.___Babwin reported from Chicago. Tom Davies in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

Flu season in the US is off to an unusually fast start, adding to an autumnal mix of viruses that has been filling hospitals and doctors’ waiting rooms.

Flu reports are already high in 17 states, and the hospitalization rate hasn’t been this high since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, there have been some 730 flu deaths, including at least two children.

Winter flu season typically picks up in December or January.

“We are seeing more cases than we would expect right now,” Dr. José Romero of the CDC said Friday.

A peak flu season is not unexpected. The nation experienced two mild seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts worry the flu could come back strong as the COVID-weary public has turned away from masks and other measures that control the spread of respiratory viruses.

The Montessori Community School in New Albany, Indiana, switched to virtual teaching at the end of the week because many students were sick with the flu. Starting Monday, all 500 students at the school will be wearing masks again.

“Everybody wants kids on campus, that’s for sure,” said school principal Burke Fondren. “We’ll do what we have to do.”

There may be good news: COVID-19 cases have been trending down and stabilizing over the past three weeks, Romero said.

And in some parts of the country, health officials think they may be seeing early signs that a wave of another respiratory virus may be starting to subside. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of cold-like symptoms in children, including a runny nose, cough, and fever. While RSV continues to rise nationally, preliminary data suggests a decline in the Southeast, Southwest and in an area that includes the Rocky Mountain states and the Dakotas, CDC officials said.

Experts believe that RSV infections have increased recently because children are now more vulnerable, no longer protected from common insects as they were during pandemic lockdowns. In addition, the virus, which usually affects 1- and 2-year-olds, is now making more children as young as 5 years old sick.

At the Comer Medicine Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago, beds have been full for 54 days straight.

“All the curves are going up for RSV and influenza,” said Dr. John Cunningham, Comer’s chief physician.

RSV illnesses appear to be unusually severe, he added.

Comer has had to turn down transfer requests from other hospitals because there was no room. Hospitals in the Chicago area had been able to transfer children to Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin, but that stopped. “They also don’t have any more beds,” Cunningham said.

There is no RSV vaccine yetBut there is flu shots and COVID-19. Health officials say flu shots are down in both children and adults compared to before the pandemic, though they are up in children since last year.

So far this season, there have been an estimated 1.6 million flu cases and 13,000 hospitalizations. Flu activity is most intense in some of the areas where RSV is fading, including the Southeast, according to CDC data.

___

Babwin reported from Chicago. Tom Davies in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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