Flu Activity Begins to Climb Across the Country

Henrietta Brewer
January 5, 2019

That compares to just 19 cases reported for the week ending December 8.

Although The Virginia Department of Health says there have been widespread cases of influenza in the state, a lot of places here in Hampton Roads have yet to see the illness show up in full swing. "I didn't know I was going to lose my baby".

Officials said they are investigating the three cases.

"There's a lot of sort of random chance - depends who gets the flu, what else they're sick with - but I'm certainly really glad to see that the number of deaths does appear to be a lot lower than they were a year ago at this point".

The number of reported cases in the state only includes people who have tested positive for influenza in a health care setting - meaning there may be several other cases that haven't been documented.

"It's miserable between feeling just rundown, terrible headaches, and the sweats", said Stephen Canter, a father who is anxious about the flu. Children are more vulnerable than adults to influenza and respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia.

Overall, doctors said the best way to avoid the flu is to get your flu shot.

In addition, a pain-free nasal spray vaccine is also available for children and youth aged 2 to 17 years. "Every season is different. Previous year it was 17 weeks which was really very long".

Hardest hit thus far has been the Southern U.S., covering a ten state sweep from SC all the way to New Mexico and even up to Utah.

After a slow start, influenza is beginning to take hold across the U.S. The good news is that it's unlikely to be as bad as last season, when nearly 80,000 Americans died. And activity is "starting to increase" in this season, Schultz said.

The early start to the flu season was partly to blame for filling emergency rooms with flu-infected people, the Public Health Agency of Canada has said. By that season's end, the state logged more than 6,400 hospitalizations, along with 435 deaths.

Flu season officially began in October, and can last into May.

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