(WXYZ) — In today’s Health Alert, the flu may have peaked nationally, but certain areas are still experiencing high or very high levels. Twenty-three states reported high levels of respiratory illnesses, an increase from eighteen states the week prior. Michigan is one of them.
The CDC’s Flu Activity Map shows that Michigan’s activity level is currently Moderate. Now, flu activity in our state appeared to have peaked back in late December. We saw numbers decline, that is, until late January. That’s when numbers started to climb again. Apparently, the flu was not done with Michiganders. According to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System’s report for the week ending February 10th, the state recorded 2,533 Influenza cases, up from 2,009 the week prior.
Now, there are four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D. Laboratory data shows that the virus taking up the lion’s share in Michigan is Influenza A. The most common strain is H1N1, followed by H3N2 and then Influenza B.
In my opinion, it’s a very good idea to get the flu shot, especially when influenza viruses are circulating. Getting vaccinated can still offer benefits like reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even death.
So far, the US has seen around 22 million illnesses, 250,000 hospitalizations, and 15,000 deaths from the flu this season, according to CDC estimates. Of those deaths, 74 were children. Unfortunately, children under the age of 5 are at a higher risk of flu complications. As are our older folks, those aged 65 and up, pregnant women, and people with chronic disease or weakened immune systems.
If you feel sick with symptoms like fever, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue, please consider getting tested. If it turns out you have the flu, there are antiviral medications available. Starting them early, within 1-2 days of symptoms, works best. They can ease symptoms and shorten the time you're sick, and studies have shown that early treatment can reduce the risk of death.
Now, the CDC advises that people aged six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine, which I completely support. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect not only yourself but also your loved ones. So, once again, it's not too late in the season to get a flu shot.