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Influenza Virus Epidemic of 2018-2019 – January 8th 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 Early 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 found at low levels across the state of Ohio, and is clearly sharply on the rise across the United States.  As of 7-14 days ago to influenza virus epidemic of this winter is far from hitting its peak, and on the rise.

Since the epidemic is in its early phases, it is still too early to tell if it will infect more than, or fewer than, usual.   Also the most upsetting statistic, the number of children who die from this virus, remains very small in the early phases of the epidemic.  Those numbers so far track in numbers very parallel to prior years.  Of course we hope it is a mild epidemic in terms of how many of all of us get ill, and how many get seriously ill.

Now that the Influenza Virus Epidemic is Starting to Go into Full Force, now is a Good Time to Get your Flu Shot.

The 2018-2019 influenza viral epidemic is just getting into full swing, so it is not too late to get protection, but it will hit full swing soon, 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, showing up right on time.  This winter’s epidemic is not yet in full swing but is moving in that direction.
  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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