Widespread Flu Hits Earlier This Season

Posted January 11, 2018

We also held the top spot to end 2017.

Six people have died from influenza in Santa Barbara County in the past two weeks, the Public Health Department announced Monday afternoon.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity has jumped across the country, with 36 states now reporting widespread flu activity.

Experts warn this year's flu season could be worst than other years and with school back in session, it means its open season for the flu virus to spread.

In comparison, three deaths were recorded for all age groups for the entire flu season previous year, according to the Public Health Department.

The emergency room at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica has had to turn away patients as more than 200 people have come in reporting flu-like symptoms, numbers that doctors haven't seen since the 1994 Northridge quake that killed 57.

We already mentioned the early outbreak. "What we are seeing is unprecedented compared to the last 10 years of influenza seasons".

The San Diego Board of Supervisors is set to consider an emergency declaration over this season's flu outbreak in the county
The San Diego Board of Supervisors is set to consider an emergency declaration over this season's flu outbreak in the county

To add to the expected severity of this year's flu season, data shows the second strain of influenza B is circulating much earlier than usual. This year there seems to be a 50-50 split.

Dr. Basye said even though the flu shot is not at peak effectiveness, it is still better to get the vaccine than going without it, especially those with weaker immune systems like young children and the elderly.

The colder weather forces more people indoors, thus in contact with others in close spaces, increasing your chances of getting the flu.

The CDC has recommended three main antivirals: oseltamivir (sold under the brand name Tamiflu, ) zanamivir (Relenza), and peramivir, all of which the CDC says contain a strain of H3N2 which should be effective against this year's version.

The best thing to do in that situation, if you are sick, stay home.

Flu season typically peaks anywhere between December and March, according to the CDC.