So far this flu season, at least 3,927 people have been sent to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza.
Here are 11 things parents need to know about the 2017-2018 influenza season.
Dr. Neelakanta also cleared up a common myth about the influenza virus and the vaccine.
What are signs of the flu? Symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and/or sore throat. Central Massachusetts has the lowest rate of flu-like sicknesses so far, with a reported 0.88 percent activity level. Symptoms of the flu will come on quickly. The dominant strain appears to be H3N2. Vaccination is still the best protection to protect ourselves, our families, and our community from the flu.
The flu vaccine is widely available at doctors' offices, clinics and pharmacies.
For more information about where you can get the flu vaccine, visit vaccinefinder.org to find a location nearest you. Nasal sprays are discouraged by the CDC but only for this season. "If you get it every year you may have a little cross immunity". It is now available only in shot form.
The HSE has warned that the deadly H3N2 virus could spark the worst flu outbreak in the country in 50 years and, ahead of the reopening of schools on Monday, Irish people were warned to keep their children home if they were showing any flu-like symptoms.
Venessa Vidovich, supervising public health nurse for Shasta County, said her department tracks the spread of the illness through voluntary sentinel providers.
People in close contact with high-risk groups, should get a flu shot to protect themselves and the people in their care. Vaccine effectiveness does vary for the different strains and year by year.
There are two main types of flu that the vaccine protects for A and B.
Influenza viruses constantly mutate, making it impossible to predict which strain will predominate in a season, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts say several indicators suggest the flu season is getting worse. The flu vaccine is grown using eggs.
What if my child has an egg allergy?
Valiani advised residents who have not yet gotten a flu shot to do so now, because it takes about two weeks to build immunity. If your child's allergy is mild to moderate, they will likely have no problem with the shot. That just means those people waited too long to get vaccinated. Some states are reporting a shortage of the anti-viral medication Tamiflu. These drugs work better when started within 48 hours of flu symptoms. The flu is a virus.
Any strain of flu, including Aussie flu, can be risky for people who are vulnerable to it, such as the elderly.
Schaffner advised those with the flu to avoid contact with others.
The flu is spreading across New Mexico, fast.