CDC Estimates 1,300 Deaths Already from the Flu this Season
MEMPHIS, TENN. – As holiday season approaches, Dr. Richard Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Composition Team, today offers tips on staying healthy while publishing a guest op-ed in Newsweek reminding everyone that “it is still not too late to get the flu shot.”
“With family gatherings and travel during the holiday season, the influenza virus is spreading across the country and Americans need to take precautions now to protect themselves and their family. It is still not too late to get vaccinated and for your body to build up immunity this flu season,” warns Dr. Richard Webby, a member of the Infectious Diseases Department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Composition Team. “The bottom line is the flu shot is still the most valuable and life-saving public health tool in preventing and spreading the flu. In fact, this year’s flu vaccine has been reformulated and updated based last year’s shot.”
Simple “Preventing the Flu” Tips
1. Get the flu shot (it’s not too late…)
2. Wash your hands regularly
3. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
4. Stay home and rest if you are sick
“Getting the flu vaccine isn’t just about protecting your health, it’s also about protecting those around you who are vulnerable like the elderly, children and those with serious health issues. The more people who get the flu shot, the less chance the virus can spread while protecting more people,” concluded Webby.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that all regions of the country are experiencing elevated levels of flu activity, indicating that peak flu season is already underway. In fact, the CDC estimates that there have been 2.6 million flu illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and unfortunately 1,300 deaths, including children, already from the flu.
Flu is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. In an average year, it kills about 36,000 people. But the toll can go higher, including the 2017–18 flu season included about 48.8 million flu infections in the U.S. and about 79,400 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.