The 2018-2019 flu season is fully underway, and millions of people are already affected by it. This flu season is so far milder compared to last year’s brutal one, but authorities are still on the watch.
2018-2019 Flu Season Update
In its latest update on the ongoing flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that there are already about 6.2 million to 7.3 million flu illnesses to date. Furthermore, there have been between 2.9 million and 3.5 medical visits, and about 69,300 to 83,500 hospitalizations so far.
Authorities expect the flu activity to persist for weeks, and they continue to recommend getting the flu shot as the first line of defense against the flu and the potentially harmful complications associated with it. The vaccine can be life-saving for children, and may reduce the severity of the illness in people who got the vaccine but still got sick.
Antiviral drugs are the second line of defense against the flu, and anyone who are ill or are have high risks for flu complications are recommended to see a health care provider early on in the illness so they can be treated with the said drugs.
Milder Flu Season
According to the CDC, the data shows that this year’s flu season is so far milder in severity than last year’s flu season in the similar time frame.
Specifically, influenza-like illnesses (ILI) this week peaked at 3.5 percent, whereas last year’s ILI peaked at 7.5 percent. Furthermore, this week’s overall hospitalization rate is at 9.1 per 100,000, but at the same time last year the hospitalization rate was at 30.5 per 100,000. Pneumonia and influenza deaths this year have so far not reached epidemic, whereas last season’s pneumonia and influenza deaths were at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks.
That said, it is still not possible to tell how severe the 2018-2019 flu season will be on the whole, and it is still affecting many lives. Further, the flu season is still ongoing, so the severity indicators are still expected to rise.