The flu virus continues to have a grip on the Tri-State in one of the worst outbreaks since 2009. Doctors and scientists are trying to determine if the peak of the season has come but they won't know that for a couple of weeks.
Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the UC Medical Center, says this virus is different and our immune system isn't equipped for it. He says it's probably a newer strain and the vaccine isn't effective.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services reported 50 deaths including two children. The Ohio Department of Health reported two pediatric deaths on January 10 and 3,854 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations as of January 6, 2018.
Fictenbaum says don't panic. "While it can be a little scary and you've seen a bunch of your friends be sick and some of our doctors have said to me, 'this is the worst I've felt in years,' it's still not something I would necessarily panic too much about."
He says it's not too late for the flu shot, with a month or two left in the flu season. Fichtenbaum also advocates lots of rest and plenty of liquids so your body can fight off any infection. "If you know somebody sick with the flu encourage them to stay home." If they live with you, he says, then encourage them to stay in their room and don't let them prepare the food."
The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking these steps to avoid the spread of germs:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine if have flu-like symptoms.
- Cover your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.