H1N1 strikes again, with over twenty deaths reported across the United States. Cases of flu-like illness are at the average level for this time of year, but the reappearance of the H1N1 flu strain that went pandemic in 2009 is also raising concern. Physicians stress that avoiding the flu is fairly simple if the correct steps are taken. Being able to identify and treat the symptoms is the first step to keeping a mild illness from progressing to a deadly disease. Of the deaths that have occurred so far, many had not received vaccinations, and some suffered from other medical complications. The CDC is keeping tabs on reports of flu-like illnesses, but say that numbers are well within normal flu season ranges. Limiting exposure to the virus by keeping hands clean, sanitizing keyboards, phones, door knobs, and other sites of shared contact is recommended, as well as anti-viral medications. Ideally these should be taken two days after symptoms have appeared, but should not be taken as a means to prevent the flu.
The reported deaths have come from several counties of the U.S., including Fresno California, Riverside California, Kings County, and Merced County. Ten other states have also reported high influenza cases, bringing the total number of states experiencing widespread flu activity to 35. The south and south-west United States are reporting particularly high incidents of flu, and the recent deaths have driven hundreds of people to clinics for vaccinations. Despite this, officials say this is a typical flu season, peaking in January or February as expected. Last years season was more severe than this years, officials say that a repeat of the 2009 pandemic is very unlikely. H1N1 strikes again with over twenty deaths reported, but the Center for Disease Control has not issued any major warnings. People are urged to keep their heads, minimize exposure to the virus, and stay home if they are already ill.
H1N1 strikes again with over twenty deaths reported, and because the H1N1 virus is a mutated influenza virus the symptoms of the disease are very easy to mistake for the less serious illness. Viral infections can be transmitted by infected persons via coughs and sneezes, making covering your mouth very important in preventing the spread of the disease. This is particularly true in clinic waiting rooms. Symptoms include chills or fever, persistent coughs, a sore throat and runny or stuffy nose, muscle and head aches, and fatigue. Experiencing any of these symptoms is no reason to panic, the easiest way to get over the H1N1 is rest and fluids, just like a normal flu. Care must be taken to get medical help if symptoms become worse than a regular flu, especially if a child is sick. Although it is late in the flu season, vaccinations are still available at clinics and some pharmacies. Physicians are urging those who have not had a vaccination to get one, as the anti-viral medication present in the shot are the most effective tools available to combat the potentially deadly virus.
By Daniel O’Brien