Flu season isn’t going away

This season’s flu is running rampant, reaching widespread condition in 12 states by Dec. 9 according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Winter might have technically just arrived a couple of weeks ago, but flu season appears to be in full bloom and historically reaches its apex between now and February.

In Arizona, for one example, one of the states not spotlighted by the CDC, cases of influenza are up 758 percent over this time last year. The CDC tracking, which measures geographic spread and not the severity of the flu, has not cited North Dakota as being in the midst of a widespread outbreak.

However, the North Dakota Health Department has been reporting higher than normal influenza activity this season, primarily in the southern part of the state. Recent days are seeing a higher number of flu cases in Ward County, according to a Trinity press release.

“The thing to keep in mind is that we’re not that far into the 2017-2018 flu season,” Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe, an infectious disease specialist with Trinity Health noted in the press release. “In most years the peak doesn’t come until February or even March, so there’s ample reason to get a flu shot to protect yourself and the people around you.”

Widespread reports that this season’s flu shot is less effective than those of previous years can be misleading since the process of evaluation is ongoing and the height of the flu season is only now arriving, according to the Trinity release.

With colder than usual temperatures keeping people indoors in our region, an enhanced chance of exposure would only logically follow. It appears this will be a challenging flu season and not one to be ignored.

The North Dakota State Health Department and the CDC recommend that everyone six months and older should receive a flu shot regardless of age or health status.