Health Officials Predict Severe Flu Season

 

The U.S. has already recorded its first flu-related death of the season.

HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE warning that the upcoming flu season could be severe, with one pediatric flu-related death already recorded.

A 4-year-old in California with underlying health problems tested positive for the flu earlier this month and died. Dr. Cameron Kaiser, a health official from Riverside County, where the child was from, said in a press release that "a death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual."

"We should never forget that the flu kills. I always recommend people get their flu shots every year," Kaiser said, adding that it is not too early to get the vaccine.

Officials often look to Australia's flu season as an indicator of the upcoming season in the U.S. Australia, where winter just ended, experienced an early flu season that was severe, with the influenza strain H3N2 dominant and particularly bad. Australia's Department of Health said flu activity was higher this season than past seasons, and 93% of cases reported were Influenza A.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the 2018-2019 flu season had a "moderate severity." The season ran from October 2018 to May 2019, with activity increasing in November and peaking mid-February. It's 21-week duration made it the longest flu season in 10 years.

The CDC advises that almost everyone over the age of 6 months, including pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine every year. Those with certain allergies or medical conditions should consult with their health care provider. Receiving the shot every season decreases the chances of getting the flu, which can be deadly, and lessens the severity of symptoms if a person does contract the contagious virus.

By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer at USNews.com.
 

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