PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's record surge of flu cases is crowding clinics, doctors' offices and hospital emergency rooms statewide, health officials said Wednesday.
"This is not a pandemic flu situation, but a major seasonal flu situation", the health department said in a release.
Matt Maurer, the epidemiologist for Coconino County, holds a vial of influenza vaccine at the county health department in Flagstaff, Ariz. You can also protect yourself by washing your hands, sneezing or coughing into your elbow, staying home when you are sick and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
The state Department of Health Services reported 11,515 flu cases so far this season, compared with 1,109 cases during the same time period previous year.
Southern Nevada in 2017 had almost three times the number of flu cases reported in 2016.
In response to all of those people getting sick, Mercy Health St. Rita's has officially made the decision concerning people that are thinking about stopping by and seeing a loved one - if you're feeling sick with the flu, they're asking you to please stay home. But the symptoms will be milder and probably have a shorter duration.
There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness.More news: Manhunt underway for suspected cop killer in Washington state
The body takes about two weeks to produce a full immune response following inoculation.
"We really haven't seen a season quite like this in a little while", said Dr. Michelle Murti of Public Health Ontario told National Post. To date, there have been no reports of pediatric death associated with flu.
The majority of influenza detections continue to be H3N2, although the proportion of detections that are influenza B has been increasing steadily, says the report. There have been four outbreaks of influenza at long-term care/assisted living facilities in the county.
H3N2 has been responsible for some of the worst flu seasons in the U.S. in recent years, including the 2006-2007, 2012-2013, and 2014-2015 bouts.
"No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu".
Anyone who is particularly at risk - including the elderly and those with heart and/or lung conditions - should seek immediate medical attention if they show flu-like symptoms. However, a second wave of influenza will often cause illnesses after the first.