A Somewhat Simple Answer
A representative of the CDC has recently pointed out that when influenza type A, specifically H2N3, is in evidence, flu season tends to be more intense and to last longer. There are three primary influenza strains. Type A, B, and C. Type C tends to be the least affecting of the three; though it can still be debilitating. This year, influenza type A has risen steadily since December, and as of February 11th had reached all fifty states. The three states least affected were Colorado, Utah, and Hawaii. The other forty-seven states were “in the red”, with widespread outbreaks of influenza.
This year also constitutes one of the highest instances of influenza vaccinations being given. Approximately 140 million vaccines have been administered. In 2010, also an especially rough flu season, approximately 160 million vaccines were administered. In America, there are roughly 324 million people. This means that nearly half have been vaccinated this year, and despite this, influenza outbreaks are still increasingly widespread.
Virulence in influenza strains may just be the primary culprit, and there are a number of reasons why. When you’re more sick, your expurgations tend to reach a “wider audience”, to provide a tongue-in-cheek description. If you sneeze harder, your phlegm “goes the distance”, and more are at risk for being affected by any contagions therein. Additionally, when more people have contracted the flu, they’re going to spread it more quickly simply because they have to work. If you’re around coworkers, it’s like being in a test tube full of influenza. You’re in a tiny office for eight hours, everyone is coughing, sneezing, hacking, and gargling; contagions are everywhere. When the strain is more virulent, those contagions are going to spread more quickly; pure and simple.
There are some additional factors at play to consider as well. This year’s weather has been very strange. In southern California, there has been more rain than in many years; some are saying the drought has broken. When there is excessive weather, people remain indoors longer, and are more likely to come in contact with contagious antigens. In the Midwest, the winter has been exceptionally cold this year, likewise prompting people to remain indoors.
Additionally, there’s the election to consider. With widespread protests, marches, and induction ceremonies incorporating millions of people in close contact and out in the elements, immune systems are going to be compromised. All these things together are a perfect recipe for exceptionally virulent and long-lasting influenza exigencies.
Every year in the US, between 4,000 and 50,000 people die from the flu. Those at greatest risk are the very young and very old, as their immune systems aren’t fully developed. The young, because they’re new to the world and their immune systems are still developing. The old, because their immune systems are declining. Additionally, economic difficulties force those who are infirm to continue working near other people. A final thing to consider is what is known as the “party” lifestyle. Think critically: when are you least likely to be properly hygienic? When you’re sober, or when you’re intoxicated? Large groups of inebriated people in close quarters are going to spread sickness. When they’re not cognizant of hygiene, that sickness will compound.
To prevent against the flu some measures include:
- Washing down surfaces that may have contagions regularly.
- Washing your hands with hot, soapy water.
- Bathing regularly.
- Ingesting high quantities of fluid.
- Eating healthy–get lots of citrus and lots of protein.
- Exercising regularly.
It may also make sense to get a flu shot, but don’t do that if you’re already sick.