Health Care

Flu Alert: Last Flu Season Had Highest Death Toll in 40 Years

A girl has her throat checked at a doctor's appointment.
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According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, last flu season was the deadliest on record. An estimated 80,000 Americans died as a result of the flu or flu-related complications last winter. The figure was 24,000 more than the most recent worst toll.

The agency also highlighted that the severe season was driven mainly by Influenza A(H3N2), which impacts children and the elderly and tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths than other strains.

Centra Care physicians emphasize that getting the flu shot is the best protection not just for individuals but for the community as whole. Simply put, when a large percentage of a population are vaccinated against a specific illness – in this case the flu, it reduces the risk of infection for the entire population and its more vulnerable groups, creating what’s called “herd immunity” or “community immunity”.

“The flu virus changes year after year and we want to encourage as many people as we can to get vaccinated,” says AdventHealth Centra Care Medical Director, Timothy Hendrix, MD. “Getting the shot not only helps prevent the flu but also reduces your risk of developing flu-related complications.”

This current season, the CDC has already seen the flu make its way into just about every state. In fact locally, Centra Care data shows that cases of the flu doubled in recent weeks.

So in addition to the shot, Centra Care physicians want to share these tips to further safeguard your family this season:

Hand Washing: Not only should you focus on proper hand washing techniques but also keep in mind that drying them off is just as important. According to the CDC, wet hands are more likely to spread germs than dry ones.

Sleep: Believe it or not, maintaining a routine helps your body and health stay in tune. Not getting enough sleep may compromise your immune system.

Exercise: Whether you’re a solo runner or stay active as a family, getting regular exercise boosts your immune system which helps fight off sickness.

Cover Up: Keep your coughs and sneezes to yourself by using a tissue or the upper part of your arm.

Stay Home: Anytime you or a little one are feeling ill, stay home. It’s also best to avoid those you know are sick.

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