The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is monitoring a multistate investigation of patients experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness. According to Fluview report, two influenza-related pediatric deaths were reported during the week of Dec. 23-29.
Both of the deaths were associated with influenza B viruses. Among children, there have been 18 deaths associated with influenza as reported during the 2012-2013 season have been reported to CDC. Seasonal flu follows a fairly predictable pattern, starting in the fall and ending in the spring.
The flu has been spreading fiercely across the United States with cases are more severe than last year, prompting Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to declare a public health emergency.
Menino's office reported that since Oct. 1, there have been 700 confirmed influenza cases among Boston residents. The alarming rise is 10 times more than last year's flu season. "This is the worst flu season we've seen since 2009, and people should take the threat of flu seriously," Menino said in a statement.
According to CDC summary report, 30 states, including New York City, are now reporting severe flu activity. Last week sixteen states reported high influenza-like-illness activity. So far there have been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus, added the report.
States reporting severe flu activity for the week ending Dec. 29 include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.
Forty-one states are reporting widespread geographic influenza activity for the week of December 23-29, 2012. That indicates the increase from 31 states the previous week.
CNN reports, Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season. In Allentown, one hospital set up a heated tent outside to serve as a clinic, with mild flu symptoms can be treated quickly and discharged and isolated from more serious cases.
The higher risk of complications from the flu are anyone 65 years and older and children under age 2 which has weaker immune system. But three deaths were reported among teenagers recently with flu like complications.
In Minnesota, a 14-year-old girl from St. Louis Park died of complications from influenza Tuesday afternoon, the second otherwise healthy teenager killed by the disease in in 10 days, as Star Tribune reports.
A 17-year-old from Marcus High School in Flower Mound, North Texas, has died after developing complications related to the flu. The teenager was sick with the flu since Christmas Day, while on vacation in Wisconsin. His symptoms worsened when he developed pneumonia, and then it turned into a staph infection, according to CBS Local.
What Do I Need to Know About Flu Symptoms?
First, Flu can spreads from everywhere, among other things, sneezing or coughing on somebody else, or by typing on a keyboard, or turning a doorknob or grabbing a shopping cart that somebody else then touches. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly that often starts with the abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches according to WebMD. Here's a list of flu symptoms you might feel: fever (usually high), severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and around the eyes, generalized weakness, ill appearance with warm flushed skin and red- watery eyes, headache, dry cough, sore throat and watery discharge from your nose.
Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory infection caused by different flu viruses. It's important to understand flu symptoms so you can seek immediate treatment, especially if you have a chronic medical condition.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases urges everyone six months and older to be given a flu shot or vaccine. CDC added that flu viruses are likely to be spread for the next two to three months on it's peak. You’re not too late to get the flu shot, but it takes about two weeks for it to offer full protection.
Above all, the key to stay healthy this flu season is to boost your immune system with foods to prevent from disease. Most people opt for orange juice and chicken noodle soup when they feel the sniffles coming on, but also consider foods like carrots, almonds and bell peppers, lemon, garlic, dark chocolate, mushrooms and ginger that can help fend off disease.