Here’s What to Know About the Flu Season Right Now

Within the last week or so, the number of states reporting widespread activity increased from 45 to 47 states. The states with the most severe activity include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia.

The flu strain called H1N1 has been the most commonly reported strain throughout the country this year, with flu strain H3N2 being the predominant strain in the southeastern region of the United States.

And the CDC reported that this year’s vaccine is proving to be very effective. While it’s still too early to say exactly how effective it’s been, the 2018-2019 vaccine is a better match to the dominant strains that are circulating this season.

“Typically, H3N2 is particularly virulent, and vaccines targeting it are less effective than those aimed at other strains, so H3N2 infections tend to be more severe,” Dr. David Mushatt, an infectious disease specialist and section chief of infectious diseases at Tulane University, told Healthline. “So if H1N1 continues to be the predominant strain this year, unlike last year, then it will be a less severe flu season.”

It’s not too late to get a shot, which is your best line of defense against influenza.

“There are many benefits to vaccination, including reducing the risk of flu illness, doctor visits, hospitalization, and even death in children. Flu vaccination also has been shown to reduce severity of illness among people who get vaccinated but still get sick,” the CDC stated.

Those who’ve already had the flu this year should consider getting vaccinated as well.

“Even if you’ve already had the flu this season, getting the vaccine once you recover will help protect you from other strains because it’s possible to get the flu more than once a season,” Dr. Frank Illuzzi, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and chief medical officer of CityMD, said.

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