Half of the states have widespread flu activity, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to CNN Health, from January 16 to 22, flu activity increased and three flu-related deaths were reported in children, while there have been 13 confirmed pediatric deaths during this flue season, which began in October.
At this point in the season the hardest hit area of the country seem to be the South and Southeast, including Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Louisiana.
In addition to the common cold, the flu is one of the most common acute respiratory infections. Typical symptom logy includes chills, headache, dry cough, fever, and body aches. The flu generally affects between ten and twenty percent of the American population each year, resulting in over 100,000 hospitalizations and between 10,000 to 40,000 fatalities each year.
The influenza A virus is typically more prevalent than the influenza B virus and is associated with the most serious flu epidemics, while influenza B infections generally present milder symptoms. Diagnosis of the flu can sometimes be difficult because the initial symptoms can be similar to those associated with other infectious agents. Considering that the flu virus is highly contagious, prompt treatment and accurate diagnosis of patients is crucial in protecting public health. Accurate diagnosis in addition to distinguishing between influenza type A or influenza type B also helps reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics and gives the physician the opportunity to prescribe an appropriate antiviral therapy. Initiation of antiviral therapy within 48 hours of symptom onset is recommended for more rapid reduction of symptoms and to reduce viral shedding.