Flu Epidemic: CA Records Deadliest Week; Unusual Flu Season Peaks

Flu vaccinations make their way to U.S. Army in Europe- Everystockphoto: Photographer - USACE Europe District
Flu vaccinations make their way to U.S. Army in Europe- Photographer - USACE Europe District

LOS ANGELES, CA — The second week of the year proved to be the deadliest week of the flu season in California with 35 confirmed deaths, bringing the total number of deaths up to 105. But as the flu season seems to be peaking, health officials are noticing some unusual developments. Namely, younger people are getting sick and dying from the flu at higher rates than usual while the elderly population is faring better than most years.

However, there are signs that this unlikely trend could soon reverse itself with the rise of viral H1N1 outbreaks.

Influenza B has been the dominant strain infecting people so far this flu season. That’s good news for older patients who seem to have some protection from the virus. It’s the younger patients who seem to be getting sick and dying at higher than usual rates. Hospitals throughout California reported a spike in flu-related visits in January. And, in places such as Los Angeles, most of the reported infections have been among younger or middle-aged patients, said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, chief medical officer for the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

Vulnerable patients should take the medicine at the first sign of fever.

If you have flu symptoms, call a doctor, and if symptoms are extreme, go to the emergency room.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (though not everyone with flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

 For more information check out the CDC’s website.

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