Ask the doctor: flu deaths, flu epidemic, and back pain

Posted January 25, 2018

Between Oct. 1, 2017 - when the flu season began - and January 13, 2018, the California Department of Public Health reported 74 flu deaths for people 65 and under.

"It's not possible to say in advance precisely when the 2017-2018 flu season will peak or end, how severe it will be, or what viruses will circulate over the course of the flu season", he said.

DHHS obtains death data through death certificates and according to the state, delays in the reporting of deaths "may cause the number of reported (pneumonia/flu) deaths to vary considerably each week".

The Tennessee Department of Health only tracks the flu-related deaths of children and pregnant women.

In the 2014/2015 flu season, in which the H3N2 strain was also the leading strain, there were an estimated 35.6 million cases, 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths.

Those numbers represent a small fraction of the total amount of the flu circulating since most people don't get tested for the virus. While flu shots reduce risk, they aren't always effective.

As of this moment, multiple news outlets have reported that 42 people have died as a result of the flu virus in California; all deceased were over the age of 65. Numerous symptoms of influenza are common to other viral infections, or "colds", though perhaps more miserable. Against the more serious and widespread version of the flu this year, the H3N2 virus, the CDC admits its shot's effectiveness goes down to about 32 percent.

Why this year's flu season is more deadly than others?

Those intending to get flu shots should visit the "HealthMap Vaccine Finder" web page to find a local place to receive one.

One mother, Jaina Johnson, told the news channel that there was an hour and a half wait at the doctor's office when she took her daughter there for flu treatment.

"Greater New York Hospital Association staff are working closely with member hospitals and the Department of Health to ensure the necessary capacity to serve communities across New York as cases of influenza continue to rise statewide", said Kenneth E. Raske, President of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

You should also call or visit a doctor if you aren't improving after a few days, Campbell said.

Which strains does the flu vaccine protect against?

Flu symptoms typically include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. They should avoid close contact with well people in the household, and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other clear liquids.