Over the course of a single year, approximately 1 billion people suffer from the common cold across the United States. Unfortunately, a harmless common cold can actually turn into something far worse.
According to The Washington Post, this year’s flu season is unusually intense. The number of individuals seeking medical attention at doctors’ offices, emergency rooms, and urgent care facilities is almost as high as the levels reported during the peak of the 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic. Additionally, this year’s flu season has caused the most flu-related hospitalizations in nearly a decade — and it’s just getting started.
“Today’s flu data show activity is down significantly for the second consecutive week, which means we peaked in early February,” said Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We may see a late-season bump from an increase in the other circulating virus strains.”
Why is this year’s flu season so different?
First, the 2018 flu season started much earlier than usual. In addition, the predominant strain this year is also the most damaging — H3N2. This strain causes the worst outbreaks of the two influenza A viruses and two types of influenza B viruses.
“Of the viruses we hate, we hate H3N2 more than the other ones,” added Daniel Jernigan, a CDC flu expert.
Are there any differences in flu symptoms this season?
Not quite, though this year’s symptoms have seemed more severe for many patients. In general, people who have the flu often feel all or some of these symptoms:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
How can someone fight back against this year’s flu symptoms?
Here are some helpful tips to actually ease some of these symptoms:
- Stay at home and get plenty of rest.
- Drink a lot of fluids, including water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and broth-based soups.
- Take care of your cough with over-the-counter treatments.
- Breathe in steam — fill your bathroom sink with hot water or take a hot shower.
- Run your home’s humidifier.
If you want to learn more about treating or identifying dangerous flu symptoms or visit quality urgent care centers in Oahu, give Island Urgent Care a call right away.