Health experts are warning that this year will soon be ranked as the worst flu season in almost a decade, with the highest rate of emergency room patients being admitted for the flu. Particularly bad flu seasons usually could be identified by their popular name, such as the swine flu. This year’s flu has not been named, but the strains that have hit the population are incredibly contagious and strike individuals of all ages.
Nationwide, the number of individuals that have contracted the flu have increased, with numbers currently at or above where they were when the flu season ended last year. Last years most important numbers measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included hospitalizations and deaths. Over 50,000 people were reported to have occured last year, and the CDC suggests that this year’s numbers will match or exceed those experienced by health officials in 2017.
Among the most concerning records and rates are pediatric deaths, most of which are reported at a slower rate than the elderly that die as a result of the flu. Elderly individuals that contract the flu are more often likely to be admitted to the hospital, so their numbers are much easier to track and evaluate. Children who contract the flu are more likely to be kept at home for the duration of their illness and subsequently their numbers are often under-reported or not reported at all.
Flu shots are still being offered and recommended to individuals who have so far escaped contracting the disease because it appears flu season has not yet peaked. Usually, by this time of year doctors and medical professionals will not suggest getting the shot because the end of the season is nearing and the remaining population is less likely to catch it. Surprising to many officials is the constantly decreasing number of individuals that take advantage of the flu shot, foregoing the vaccine because of several years of a relatively mild flu season. This lower rate is partially to blame for the increasing number of flu cases.