For the past five years, the flu season has lasted between 11 and 20 weeks, she said. The CDC developed a vaccine to help combat the flu early in the season, but this year's strain mutated, making the vaccine not work for most people.
However, the stories of otherwise healthy people dying from the virus are really shocking and frightening. "The most prevalent strains of the season may not be as well protected against from this flu vaccine that's available this year", she said.
If you do get sick and think you may have the flu, contact your health care provider right away, particularly if you or family members are at high risk for serious flu complications - young children (under the age of 5), those over 65, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or asthma. Influenza can be unpredictable, health department sources said, with recurrence of additional strains developing later in the flu season.
On Monday, officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center released its flu numbers for the last six weeks.
In fact, hospitalizations for the 2017-2018 flu season have already reached the highest levels since the CDC began tracking such data closely in 2010. Total for the season, DE has seen 2,966 confirmed cases of the flu.
Months before the American flu season, scientists observe the southern hemisphere to discover what next year's strains of flu might look like and develop a vaccine based on these predictions.
In general, influenza viruses are always mutating, but the H3N2 virus mutates faster so that vaccine makers can't quite catch up to it, some scientists say.
"I've definitely had the flu in the past, but not as bad as it was this time", Riley said. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report, all states except Hawaii and OR are now experiencing high flu activity, making it seem unavoidable.
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Delaware's intense flu season has broken a record.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.
Health officials say the influenza vaccine, although not 100 percent effective, is the best way to prevent the flu.
Hospitalizations are on track to pass the 2014-2015 season's rate and could go "quite a bit higher", she said.
This year's risky flu season shows no sign of waning, and "may be on track to break some recent records".
The flu is a deadly illness that the public needs to take seriously.
The lamps can kill the virus while still remaining safe around people. Benard and the CDC recommend that, if you are sick with a flu-like illness, you should stay home for at least 24 hours. He cited pharmacy-based immunizations and a MA program where every patient is offered a flu shot at hospital discharge.