Flu on the Rise: What You Should Know

Flu activity is expected to continue rising, according to CDC

(RxWiki News) Flu activity has been on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

After noting the rise during November and early December of 2016, the CDC said it expects flu activity to continue to increase in the coming weeks.

Influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been the most commonly seen. If H3N2 viruses continue to circulate, young children and older adults may be more severely affected, based on information from past flu seasons, the CDC noted. 

The CDC saw influenza-like illness levels increase to 2.3 percent during the week of Dec. 17 from 1.9 percent during the week of Dec. 10. This percentage exceeds the national baseline level of 2.2 percent for the first time this flu season.

With this update, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC is recommending that everyone 6 months old and older receive the influenza vaccine to help prevent the flu. It is not too late to receive the flu vaccine — flu activity can peak between December and March. 

Read on for more information about the flu.

What is the best way to protect myself and my family?

The flu vaccine is the best method to protect yourself against the flu. 

Although the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu, antiviral medications continue to be very important in treating the flu. The CDC continues to encourage health care providers to start those who have flu symptoms and are at high risk of serious flu complications, as well as those who are seriously sick from the flu, on antiviral medications. 

Although most people who get the flu will get better in a few days to two weeks, some people may develop complications. These can include pneumonia, which can be serious and may even lead to death for some people. 

Who is at high risk for developing complications related to the flu?

Those who are at a high risk for developing complications related to the flu are those who are 65 and older, those with certain chronic medical conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart disease, pregnant women and very young children.

Vaccination is especially important in these populations. 

How do I know if I have the flu?

The flu, also known as influenza, is a respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Flu symptoms differ from the symptoms of a cold.

Generally, if you have the flu, the symptoms come on suddenly. Those with the flu may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (only in some people, and these symptoms are more common in children than adults)

Speak to your health care provider about protecting yourself and your family from the flu.