January 09, 2018 02:27 PM
It's flu season and the virus is spreading throughout the United States.
ABC News, citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports 46 states have widespread flu activity.
"Not only did it start early, but it seemed to occur all over the country more or less simultaneously," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, told ABC News.
According to the CDC, 26 states are reporting high flu activity, with some of the worst cases in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
Additionally, the number of patients nationwide hospitalized for flu-like symptoms doubled in the past two weeks, which is up roughly 35 percent from the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the CDC reports the effectiveness of the flu vaccine typically ranges from 40 to 60 percent. Preliminary estimates of flu vaccine effectiveness from this past year show the vaccine was roughly 40 percent effective.
Schaffner advised those with the flu to avoid contact with others.
"Stay home, don't go to work, don't go to the gym, don't go to religious services," Schaffner told ABC News.
He also advised those with the flu to consider talking to their medical care providers about antiviral medications.
"If we get in early enough, we can make your infection less severe, perhaps shorten it by a day and make it less likely that you get the complications," Schaffner told ABC News.
Preventing, Treating the Flu
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue, according to the CDC. Here are some tips from the CDC on how to prevent and treat the virus:
Updated: January 09, 2018 02:27 PM
Created: January 09, 2018 11:12 AM
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