The Deadly Flu Outbreak


Logan Jensen, Reporter


High fever, chills, muscle ache, coughing, fatigue: pretty much everyone can recognize these as symptoms of the flu. It is not to be confused with a cold, which usually involves, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states, congestion, and sore throat, while a flu more commonly includes chills, aching, and fever. According to the CDC, up to 20% of citizens in the US contract it, and unless you get proper vaccinations, it can be difficult to avoid. Lately, however, the flu has been more frequent, and more deadly.

The Washington Post recently reported on February 9th that 2018’s flu season has been so intense that the amount of people looking for care at emergency rooms “has surged to levels not reported since the peak of the 2009 swine flu pandemic.” According to Livescience, 203,000 people worldwide may have been killed by that outbreak.

The flu is always changing. As a virus it can evolve and adapt to the environment, meaning there is usually a different strand of influenza each year, some more dangerous than others.

No matter which strand is spreading, the flu can have deadly side effects, especially for people who are high at risk. Those who have chronic conditions are more likely to develop other serious diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis. People who are more likely to get the flu include children under 5 and adults over 65. According to the CDC, Native Americans also have a higher chance of contracting this virus.

Senior Nathan Schild stated, “I heard of it…and that people are afraid of it. […] My classmate in concert choir and friend, as well as her family, have gotten sick from this flu outbreak.” The flu is already making rounds in Taylorsville. So how can we protect ourselves from it?

Reports from the CDC state that the flu season often begins as early as October and November. In the US, flu activity commonly peaks between December and February. This could be caused by the sudden change in temperature, higher allergy rates, or even a mixture of both.

“The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, and their close contacts.”

Many people refuse to get vaccinated, afraid of its side effects. They may also use the excuse that they are ineffective. The CDC responds to these thoughts. “There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.”

The flu is spreading quicker than it has in years. Good hygiene, staying at home when infected, and getting vaccinations can help to prevent the rapid spread of this strain of flu across the U.S. See your doctor if the flu symptoms become chronic.