Flu hitting hard and early in Arizona

The contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus is predicted to be worse this year than the previous year. Current data shows more flu cases reported this year than at the same time last year. Even though a healthy adult can brush of the flu in about a week, the flu kills an average of 36,000 people nationwide every year. Having the flu is no fun and games, symptoms include excessive fatigue, nausea, body aches, chills, cough, sore throat and fever.

The flu season begins annually October 1 and can extend as far as May of the following year. So far, this year, the Arizona department of health services has reported 1,143 cases of influenza extending over 15 counties. Of the three flu types, A, B and C, type A and B are the most common with A being reported the most this year. The state is not required to document the number adult fatalities, but one infant and two children have passed due to the virus.

Infants and elderly are the most vulnerable. The most effective way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated as early as possible. Children can get vaccinated as early as 6 months of age. The elderly are given a higher dose of the vaccine to help their immune system. Other than getting the flu shot, preventative measures can be taken to prevent the spreading of the flu, such as washing hands, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth and staying home if ill.