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CDC Says Current Flu Season Is 'Relatively Long'

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The 2018-2019 flu season is not winding down. According to a new report, the hospitalization rate due to influenza-like symptoms remains elevated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's FluView reveals that 44 states continue to see widespread flu activity this year. The A(H3) virus, in particular, is causing an upsurge of new cases.

The report provides a weekly summary of the ongoing flu season. The public health agency predicts that this year, flu activity will remain elevated for a couple more weeks and suggested that this season will likely be "relatively long."

2018-2019 Flu Season In Full Swing

The flu season usually begins to wind down around March, but this month continues to see elevated overall influenza activity across the country. The report shows data from the week ending on March 16 that the rate of medical visits due to influenza-like illness was at 4.4 percent or well above the national baseline which is 2.2 percent.

The CDC adds that the influenza-like illness levels (ILI) have been above the national baseline for 17 weeks now. High ILI activities continue to be observed in 26 states.

A total of 13,604 laboratory-confirmed influenza hospitalizations has been recorded since the current flu season began on Oct. 1, 2018. The highest rate is among older adults aged 65 years and older.

The report also reveals that eight pediatric deaths have occurred in the past week, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths this 2018-2019 flu season to 76.

While Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 remains to be the virus that is predominant this year, the A(H3) virus is also contributing to the upsurge of flu activity. In the week ending on March 16, more cases of illnesses caused by A(H3) virus has been reported compared to A(H1N1)pdm09.

What To Do To Avoid The Flu

The CDC continues to recommend flu vaccinations as long as the viruses are still around and circulating. The second line of defense is anti-viral drugs to treat those who have been affected.

Avoid close contact with people who exhibit symptoms of the flu such as cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle and body ache. Frequent and proper hand-washing and disinfecting surfaces that are often touched or used can also prevent the illness and the further spread of the viruses.

Those who are infected are advised to stay home for at least 24 hours and seek medical care.

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