The flu epidemic is not letting up. Forty-two states saw high levels of activity last week.
So far this season, 53 children have died.
Seven-year-old Savanna Jessie loved to draw and color, according to her obituary. The first-grader from Indiana was found unresponsive at home after testing positive for influenza B, strep throat, and scarlet fever. The local coroner is now investigating her death.
“We’re seeing deaths increase in children and in adults,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat is acting director of the Centers for Disease Control. “So far this year, 53 children have died from influenza. So it’s proving to be a very difficult season.”
That’s in part because this season the most common virus is H3N2, which typically means more cases, hospitalizations and death, especially among the elderly.
On top of that, a report from Canada out this week found the vaccine has only been 17 percent effective against that strain of the flu.
Still doctors and public health officials say vaccination is still the best defense from flu. Someone who gets flu, after receiving the flu shot, is less likely to suffer severe symptoms.
“We may have several weeks left in this year’s flu season,” Schuchat said.
Over 100 deaths are reported in Kentucky, 70 in Alabama and over 50 in Tennessee so far from the flu. Four confirmed deaths were reported by the Cumberland County, Tennessee coroner as of last week.
If you do get the flu, antiviral medications can help, it’s recommended that you start them as soon as possible. A flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Getting one may make the symptoms not as severe if you end up with the flu.