INDIANAPOLIS -- Influenza is on the rise across the country, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, and Indiana is expected to reach peak season sooner than average this season.
Indiana has already had its first two flu deaths of the season. The first reported death was a child between the ages of 5-18. The second death reported last week was an older adult.
Because of the large number of flu activity reported across the state, the health department says they expect flu season to reach peak in Indiana well before the normal peak at the end of January.
But it's not just Indiana, the number of states reporting widespread flu activity jumped from 12 to 23 this week. The proportion of samples testing positive for influenza at clinical laboratories also went from 8.4% to 14.0% and the percentage of people seeking outpatient care for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased from 2.7% to 3.5% over last week’s report, according to the CDC.
Haven't gotten the flu shot yet? This map should give you a good reason:
The CDC says that the best bet for fighting the flu is to get a flu shot. Check with your physician or your county health department.
According to the CDC's definition, influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Widespread influenza activity was reported by 23 states:
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Regional influenza activity was reported by Puerto Rico and 23 states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Local influenza activity was reported by the District of Columbia and four states:
- West Virginia
Sporadic activity was reported by the U.S. Virgin Islands. Guam did not report. Geographic spread data show how many areas within a state or territory are seeing flu activity.