Influenza is widespread across more than half the country and the Centers for Disease Control reports the number of deaths attributed to the flu has reached the epidemic threshold. The American Red Cross reminds everyone to get their flu vaccine now and has steps people can follow to help prevent the spread of the flu.
According to the CDC, the number of deaths from influenza is just below the epidemic threshold of 6.9 percent. Forty-three states are reporting widespread flu activity and the number of people seeing their doctor for flu-like illness is on the rise. Hardest hit are people 65 or older. These numbers are expected to continue in the weeks ahead, and could rise especially in states that have not yet seen a high number of cases. The CDC recommends those who have not had their flu vaccine should get it now.
FLU SAFETY STEPS In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu. They include:
SIGNS YOU HAVE THE FLU The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children). If you think you have the flu, call your health care provider. Seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms: