'Bad flu season' peaking, but far from over

Flu hospitalizations in Pueblo spike

Minnesota confirms first child death this flu season

As the flu continues spreading across every state but Hawaii and the District of Columbia, Summit County this season has counted five flu-related deaths, including one pediatric death, reports Summit County Public Health. The OSDH wants to remind Oklahomans that everyone is at risk for influenza and the flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age and older.

DPH commissioner Raul Pino and state epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Cartter provided an update during a Friday morning news conference.

Jernigan said clinicians should still give antivirals to patients, especially young children or older adults, at the first sign of suspected flu and not wait until laboratory confirmation.

"There has been a very rapid increase in the numbers of people coming in to see their doctors. It's the highest it's been this early in the season, and it's the highest it's been period".

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The traditional flu season lasts from October through May.

"We are now seeing a mix of flu types, including the A (H3N2) strain that circulated last winter in the United Kingdom and then in Australia", he said. And Jernigan said he expected this year's vaccine to be about 30 percent effective against H3N2 when all is said and done.

They said all eight counties in the state have seen an increase in flu activity over the past two weeks.

A total of 18 people in Ashland County have been hospitalized for flu-related illness since December 1, and 11 of those hospitalizations were in January, Gerwig said. "Even if the vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu, it will make it less likely for you to become seriously ill or require hospitalization".

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Harris said hospitals can enforce an altered standard of care because of the extra patients.

It predicts that mid-February will be the peak for the nation.

Kathy Harben, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the Tuesday session would now address guidance for health professionals on trying to reduce the spread of the flu and to help with shortages of antiviral medicines in some hard-hit areas.

Nevertheless, health officials are urging people to get vaccinated. "You just have some people that refuse to take it despite medical advice and you have some people who are pretty religious about taking it and on a routine basis", says Taylor.

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