“Is it flu season yet?” might be a common question as coworkers rack up their post-holiday sick days. The scary graph above shows that indeed, we’re hitting the peak of a terrible flu season; in fact, it’s the worst we’ve had in 6 years, according to Google Trends Data, which tends to be about two weeks ahead of official CDC flu season info.
But even the CDC basically concurs; their graph shows similarly frightening trends in the number of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness:
The statistics look scary, but according to the CDC’s most recent influenza report, pneumonia and influenza-related deaths still haven’t hit epidemic levels. So what do you need to know about flu season 2013 to keep it that way? Read up on the
This is a good year to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone over six months of age get vaccinated to help protect against the spread of influenza virus. If you got vaccinated in years past, sorry: That isn’t going to help against the 2012-2013 flu. If you’re pregnant, over 65, or suffer asthma, diabetes, or lung disease, you’re at a heightened risk for developing flu-related pneumonia; you should get vaccinated. And if you work with, live, or care for other people, you are at heightened risk of exposure. (Teachers, nurses, restaurant workers, shopkeepers…we’re looking at you.) Go get a shot.
Flu Symptoms 2013
The flu isn’t the same as a cold; it usually comes on quickly, and is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms include:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
Some people also experience vomiting and diarrhea; it’s more common for children than adults.
UPDATE: The CDC has released further information about the 2013 flu season, and effectiveness of flu shots against influenza.