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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Worst Flu Season in Franklin County History -- Cases Rising Daily -- 1/29/18

New flu numbers are in for Franklin County, and they show this is the worst flu season in the county's history.  The latest number of reported cases is 1,840, but Tony Buel, the county's public health supervisor says those numbers go up every day.  And he says those numbers are deceiving, "I know there are so many more cases of the flu because a lot of people just don't go to the doctor." 

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started tracking this season's flu cases October 1, there have been 68,517 Influenza A cases reported.  That's the most common type.  In addition, there were 14,933 Influenza B cases reported.

To make matters worse, the flu vaccine is not proving to be very effective against this year's main strain, because of a virus mutation.  But health experts say everyone still needs the shot because they say this year's strain is more deadly than the swine flu and it continues to spread very rapidly.  Here are the main symptoms:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • a sore throat & cough
  • nasal congestion
  • chills

Each year, on average, 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population contracts the flu, tens of thousands are hospitalized, and between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from flu-related illness, according to the CDC. The flu strikes indiscriminately, but young children, the elderly and the chronically ill are most vulnerable. 

Again, the experts say your best defense again the flu is getting the vaccine.  And it's not too late.  Check with your doctor or pharmacist about how to get your vaccine.  The Franklin County Health Department on Main Street in Union also will give the shots.  Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the vaccine.  In addition to getting a flu shot, remember:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean areas you touch often
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Boost your immune system

And keep this in mind:  Experts say up to 30% of people who say they feel fine and don't have any symptoms can still carry the flu virus and spread it. 

Historically, February is the peak month for the flu.  But it can last into March and in extreme cases, people have still reported having the flu in May.

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