Feeling achy? Weak? Sneezing and coughing? If so stay home! Odds are you have the early symptoms of the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with a new report Friday showing that for the week between December 30-January 5 influenza activity remained elevated in the U.S. That means 7.3% of U.S. deaths last week were caused by pneumonia and the flu. The country is now in a flu epidemic.
New York City and 24 states have experienced “high activity” in flu-like illness, while in 16 states flu activity was only moderate, according to the recent report. 47 states now have reported a widespread activity of the flu outbreak, which is up from 41 states that reported it the previous week.
So have you gotten your flu shot yet?
Thankfully, there’s good news. The CDC says the flu vaccine appears to be about 62% affective, which is a “moderate effectiveness” according to the report. You may be asking yourself why you got the flu vaccine if it won’t prevent the flu epidemic affecting most of the country.
Even if the vaccine is not 100% effective it is still incredibly important and research shows that those that have been vaccinated have milder cases of the flu and faster recovery times. According to recent numbers, about 4.3% of people are visiting doctors and hospitals for flu-like symptoms which is comparable to the 2007-2008 “moderately severe” flu season.
But be warned, the vaccine does not work right away. The CDC website says, “it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.” But, even with the flu epidemic hitting nationwide and the knowledge that it could take two weeks for the vaccination to take effect it is still worth it to go out and get the flu shot.
According to a Gallup poll released on Friday, 3.2% of Americans report having the flu the prior day when they were polled back in December, which is historically high for the month. That rate is more typically reported in February. Thus, this peak in December suggests that the 2012-2013 flu season may just be beginning and could be worse than the previous four seasons.
Mom always said it, but washing your hands does work. Frequent hand washing could cut your risk of getting the flu . If you want more protection, you can even wear a mask as you step out of your home onto the streets to help prevent the virus from entering your body.
But, if all else fails and you still get the flu don’t forget the app the Cyclists discussed on Tuesday’s show where you can figure out who is responsible for making you feel so miserable. So while you may still be miserable at least you will know who to blame.