If you are a frequent reader of Blisstree, you’ve probably noticed how many times we’ve mentioned the terribleness that is 2013′s flu season, including ways to prevent catching the flu and the effectiveness of getting a flu shot. A few days ago, Briana noted that 2013 is seeing the worst season for the influenza virus in 6 years, but it had yet to reach epidemic levels. But since the world didn’t end as predicted on December 21st, 2012, it appears that this year has got some serious curve balls to throw at us in the mean time. Unfortunately, as of yesterday, New York’s governor has declared this to officially be considered a flu epidemic and a public health emergency.
On Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement, thereby authorizing pharmacists to give flu shots to kids between 6 months and 18 months old. So far, 19,000 cases have been reported in New York State alone about 5 times that of last year, but the Empire State isn’t the only one facing a terrible problem.
15 states have reported unusually high numbers of flu cases, while only 5 have reported minimal flu levels. States like Utah, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia are experiencing increasing rates, and cities like Boston are seeing thousands of people seeking flu shots out of panic. Pharmacists and clinics are facing shortages while shipments for medication are backed up because of the demand. At least 20 children have already died as a result of the virus, making the idea of their child catching the flu some parents’ worst fear.
Last month, we compiled some ways in which you can help prevent you and others from getting the flu. For example, avoiding close contact with sick people (not always easy, but do the best you can), resisting the urge to touch your eyes, nose or mouth and keeping your hands washed can all assist you in the fight against catching this year’s especially bad virus. There are apparently still 6 weeks left to go for flu season according to health officials, so stay as safe as possible!