By Anna Lawson and Ryan Hack
The flu during winter this year, H3N2, has been one of the worst viruses the country has seen in many years. H3N2 has been known to circulate when the vaccine is not as effective, and this year is an example of that. So far, the flu has caused over 12,000 hospitalizations, and at least 2,355 deaths since October of last year. In the United States, the flu has been highly active in forty-six states, with Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Montana, having less severe outbreaks.
There has been trouble treating patients with the flu this year too. As a result of the hurricane in Puerto Rico earlier this year, there has been a shortage in IV bags, since they are manufactured there. Megan Lydon, a Glenelg Junior and intern at Howard County General Hospital, says that, “IV bags and saline are a crucial aspect in keeping patients hydrated while they wait for further treatment.” If a patient does not receive saline, they risk becoming dehydrated which could lead to further complications.
Doctors are still encouraging people to go out and get vaccinated if they have not already. Anybody over the age of six months should get a shot, and not the nasal spray, as the shot is effective. The flu shot this year, the Flublok Quadrivalent, has been said to be only ten percent effective, but the nasal spray has been said to not be effective at all this season. Some children are recommended to be vaccinated twice for proper protection.
The flu also has some very common symptoms that point out what a person is coming down with. These symptoms include a fever, chills, cough, sore throat, a runny and/or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Junior Payton Jaap says that, “When I had the flu last year, I felt a sore throat at first, but it eventually turned into a really bad cough and nausea.” If you feel like you are coming down with any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Basic preventative actions such as washing your hands in concurrence with getting vaccinated will increase your chances of dodging the flu this season. In addition, you can take vitamin C boosters such as Emergen-C. However, if you have already gotten the flu once this season still be cautious. It is possible to get the flu twice due to various strains.