SPRINGFIELD, MO (01/29/18) - Whether it’s been coughing, sneezing, or headaches the flu has been pretty severe this year. The Centers for Disease Control announced a first in its 13 years of flu monitoring, as of this month, every part of the continental U.S. showed widespread flu activity.
According to information from the State Department of Health and Senior Services, more than 8,200 cases were reported last week bringing the season total, so far, to nearly 54,000 positive cases in the U.S.
“The main sign of the flu is a fever. If you don’t have one it’s unlikely you have the flu at this point," says Dr. Amr Nabaah with Mercy. "What I mean by fever is temperature is more than 101.”
Kendra Findley with the Greene County Health Department says the flu has been severe this year with some ending in death. “As far as Greene County residents, and flu deaths, we’ve had two reported to us this flu season," she says.
And in Taney County, 4 deaths were reported due to the flu. All of which were over the age of 64. Findley, also, explains that each year, on average 36,000 people will die from complications to the flu, nationally.
And even if you get the vaccine, it’s still possible you could fall ill. “The vaccine, even if you get the flu, you will have less symptoms or less severe symptoms," says Nahbaah.
Health officials claim the severity this year is due to the strand being passed around Influenza-A (H3N2).
In Greene County this flu season 1,926 people have had confirmed cases of the flu with 400 confirmed cases every week this month. Last year, there were 2,500 total from October to April.
“So, if we have another 400 cases reported from last week I’d say we will surpass that 2,500 cases that we had last year," explains Findley.
To prevent yourself from the getting flu health officials say wash your hands constantly.
With only a few months left in the flu season you can still get a vaccine. In Springfield, Findley says check with your local doctor, call Walgreens, CVS, and other clinics. You can, also, get the flu shot at Mercy's Urgent Care on 3045 S National Ave.