Beaumont hospitals restrict visitation due to the flu

Eastern Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced eight deaths occurred this week, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths to 14 since October 1, 2017. Compared to the 2016-2017 flu season, there were 1,109 total cases and 275 weekly cases reported for the same time period previous year.

"An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick and spreading it to others", officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. According to the state's Department of Health and Human Services, the deceased adults lived in Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Strafford counties. These viruses are often linked to more severe illness, especially among children and people age 65 and older.

The state is also reporting a number of influenza outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 49 outbreaks reported this season.

Prof Paul Cosford, medical director from Public Health England, said: "The levels of flu being seen are high and of course that is contributing to the pressures in the NHS, but they are not unprecedented levels".

Over the last 13 years there have only been two seasons where the CDC has characterized the flu season as "high severity". But you are less likely to be hospitalized. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms you are encouraged to make an appointment with your local healthcare provider. More than half of those patients have been diagnosed with influenza, Central Health said Friday.

Official effectiveness data on this season's flu vaccine will not be available until the middle of next month. It comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

The 19 CommUnityCare Health Centers in Travis County report they have received up to 90 patients a day with flu-like symptoms since mid-December, according to Central Health, which funds the centers.

All states in the continental USA have widespread flu activity for the first time in at least 13 years, according to an update Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your arm when coughing or sneezing.

If you get the flu, stay home and rest so you don't spread it to other people.

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