This year’s influenza season is one of the most severe in recent years, with widespread cases reported throughout the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most recent Weekly FluView Report (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/summary.htm) indicates “All U.S. states but Hawaii continue to report widespread flu activity and the number of states experiencing ‘high’ influenza activity increased from 32 states plus New York City and Puerto Rico to 39 states plus New York City and Puerto Rico.”
As such, the CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for “all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks,” and reminds clinicians and the public about “the importance of antiviral medications for treatment of influenza in people who are severely ill and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications.”
The King County Health Department is reporting that, as of the week ending Jan. 20, another five people had died as a result of influenza, bringing the county’s total this flu season to 14 deaths directly related to influenza.
In that same timeframe, the rates for both postive-testing influenza cases and visits to hospital emergency rooms with flu-like illnesses are both high, but they are both declining.
The CDC indicates that there is still value to people who decide to get the flu shot this season, if they haven’t been vaccinated already. While the rates for prevention this year are slightly lower than prior years, there continues to be benefit for those who receive the vaccine to experience less severe symptoms and a more rapid recovery than those who have not received the immunization.
The clinics of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital provide both vaccinations, testing, and antiviral medication prescriptions at the hospital’s two clinic locations. Call (425) 888-4452 or (425) 888-4452 or to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Flu shots are also available at area Bartell Drugs, at the North Bend QFC Pharmacy, and at the North Bend Safeway.
For more information on protecting yourself from the flu, visit https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/immunization/flu-season.aspx, or the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.