According to the CDC, New York City is in the midst of a flu epidemic, and boy-oh-boy do I not want my daughter or myself to get it. The flu is widespread in 24 states these days, including Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. The CDC notes, “some regions may have peaked, while other parts of the country are still on the upswing.”
According to The Huffington Post, “Between 1976 and 2007, the number of deaths per season due to the virus ranged from around 3,000 to 49,000. This season’s outbreak may appear all the worse given that last year’s flu season fell on the milder end of the spectrum.” It’s important to take flu prevention seriously; 20 children have died from the flu this season alone.
Here’s what you need to know to protect your family this flu season:
The H3N2 virus is a particularly bad one. 1 of 7The H3N2 virus, floating around this year, is known to cause hospitalizations and deaths. According to HuffPo, "It hasn't circulated in recent years, so there are a lot of susceptibles. It has the opportunity to make a lot of people sick."
Get the flu shot! 2 of 7You and your kids should get the flu shot in order to avoid being taken down by this outbreak.
If you think you or your kids have the flu, call your doctor. 3 of 7If you have fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, headache and vomiting or diarrhea, call to see if you should get antiviral treatment. Dr. Claire McCarthy says, "You probably won't need it, but that's for your doctor to decide--and if you do need it, the sooner you start it the better."
Wash your hands. 4 of 7And make sure your kids wash their hands, too! Carrying hand sanitizer is a good idea as well. Wipes work in a pinch. And don't forget to use the paper towel to turn the bathroom door handle when you're done washing if you're in public!
Don’t go to work sick. 5 of 7It's rude to your co-workers and puts their health and yours in danger. Your boss would rather have you stay home, trust that.
Stay away from sick people. 6 of 7Don't worry about being rude, just protect yourself and your family. Sick people shouldn't be out in public anyway.
Make sure you and your kids know how to keep germs at bay. 7 of 7Cough and sneeze into your elbow to protect others. And again, wash your hands a lot.
All photos via iStock.
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