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The Flu Isn’t Playing Around This Year. Here’s How to Fight Back

This is shaping up to be the worst season since the 2009 pandemic.

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It’s no surprise that the flu spreads every year, however, the timing, severity and length of the season varies. And clearly, this year’s flu season is not holding back.

This year’s influenza is made up of the most dangerous of the four strands, H3N2. An average flu season combines two Type A strands (H1N1 and H3N2) with two Type B strands (Victoria and Yamagata).

According to Fortune, the flu is killing almost 4,000 Americans a week.

The average flu season begins around October, peaks during the months of December through February and can last as long as May. Experts also say this year’s flu vaccine is not as effective as in the past, as it doesn’t match the deadly strain particularly well.

If other news about this year’s flu season has you paranoid about coming down with the flu, here are a few tips on how you can help combat the virus:

1. Get your flu shot, like now.

Regardless of what your excuse was for not getting a shot earlier, it’s not too late.

2. Stay away from sickos if you can.

Limit contact with individuals who are under the weather to avoid catching any viruses.

3. Take antiviral flu medicine as soon as possible if you do get sick.

These drugs (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) are different from antibiotics and are prescribed by a doctor. Ideally, they should be taken within 48 hours of noticeable symptoms. The most well-known is a drug called Tamiflu.

4. Prepare to self-care.

Wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, avoid touching your face and disinfect surfaces and objects around you. Take your vitamins and exercise regularly to help boost your immune system.

Nothing guarantees complete immunity, but that’s not something we weren’t aware of before. So why does this season’s flu seem more ruthless than others? That’s because it is.

The New York Times is reporting, hospitalization rates are higher than the CDC has ever recorded this point in the season and flu activity has been marked as “high” throughout the majority country.

Flu symptoms hit suddenly, but even then, it’s best to go to the doctor for an examination. The CDC says symptoms might include having a fever, chills, a cough or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and tiredness.

The CDC anticipates weeks of flu activity to come.

“For the 2017-2018 season, manufacturers projected they would provide between 151 million and 166 million doses of injectable vaccine for the U.S. market.” AKA get yours while supplies last if you haven’t already.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Dani Matias is a student at the University of Texas. She is working toward a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is an active member of Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc., NABJ and NAHJ.

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