Flu Season Hits Earlier than in Recent Years

flu incidence by week (CDC)

This year’s flu season seems to be starting earlier than usual and is getting more intense by the week. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports in its weekly summary of flu surveillance that flu cases are increasing across the country. California still is showing only sporadic flu activity, but 8 other states report widespread activity and 15 others report regional activity.

The CDC reminds us that it’s not too late to protect yourself and those around you by getting a flu shot. The vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. And the CDC also has other helpful suggestions for preventing flu transmission. If you’re sick, stay home and limit contact with others. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. And wash your hands frequently.

I’ve seen no randomized studies suggesting that lighting candles, singing songs, or eating latkes decreases transmission of flu, but I recommend it anyway. Happy Hanukkah!

Learn more:

Unusually Early Flu Season Intensifies (NPR Health)
Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView (CDC)
Google Flu Trends for Los Angeles
Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine (CDC)
CDC Says “Take 3” Actions To Fight The Flu (CDC)

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