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Influenza Virus Epidemic of 2018-2019 – January 22nd Update

By Dr. Arthur Lavin

Readers of Real Answers with Dr. Arthur Lavin will remember that nearly every posting on the influenza virus reminds us that this is a virus that mysteriously appears every year around the same time, and just as strangely, disappears every year in an equally predictable manner.

The Middle Phases of the 2018-2019 Influenza Virus Epidemic

Influenza virus is now found infecting many people across Ohio.  As of the latest report, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#ILIMap, which typically lags 7-14 days behind any moment in time, influenza virus is now past its early phases.  As January comes to a close, the influenza virus epidemic of 2018-2019 is solidly in the middle of its phases.  The current trends suggest, but do not yet prove, that this season’s influenza virus epidemic has actually passed its peak and is beginning a slow decline.  It will take a few more weeks  to be sure, let us hope current trends continue.

If the sense that current data suggest the epidemic is past its peak hold up, that will imply the following aspects to this year’s influenza virus epidemic may be the case:

  • This season may turn out to a milder than usual epidemic.
  • Although the peak may be passing, we have many more months of influenza virus epidemic across Ohio, and the US.
  • Very mercifully, the milder level of national influenza virus infections has dropped the number of children across the US who have died from this virus, at this point the number stands at 14, well below last year’s trend.  As noted in most posts, these numbers, as upsetting as they are, dramatize just how few of our 100 million children need fear actual death from these infections.

 

 

The Influenza Virus Epidemic May be Turning the Corner, but it is Still a Good Time to Get your Flu Shot.

The 2018-2019 influenza viral epidemic is in full swing, and may even be past its peak, but will be around our neighborhoods at least through March, and into April, so it is not too late to get protection, so if you intend to get a flu shot and have not yet, now is a good time to call.

The benefits of a flu shot remain as follows:

  1. It gets rid of 1/3 of all winter colds and flus.  I personally hate being sick, I don’t know many who like it.  Getting the flu shot will rid you and your family of 1/3 of all winter colds, we think that is reason enough.
  2. Although actual tragedy is rare in childhood from the typical influenza virus infection, it does happen, why take the chance?  The shot drops the chance of this too.
  3. The flu shot is safe.  There is no live virus in the flu shot, so it is physically incapable of giving anyone the flu.

 

BOTTOM LINES

  1. The 2018-2019 influenza virus is here, it showed up right on time.  This winter’s epidemic is in full swing, and maybe, surprisingly already past its peak, but we need some more weeks to be sure.
  2. Influenza virus infections tend, overwhelmingly, to be not so dangerous to most healthy children, but can result in tragedy rarely.
  3. We recommend the flu shot, it prevents lots of illness, and can prevent tragedy.

 

Of course, we all hope this year’s epidemic is mild, and whatever the virus does, we are here to help.

To your health and happy holidays,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

 

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