This could be the worst flu season in a decade. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 16 children in the U.S. died from the flu in the last week, bringing the number of pediatric flu-related deaths to 53 for the 2017-2018 season. They say this season’s rate of hospitalization (51 people per 100,000) is the highest it’ been since they started collecting this data in 2010.
Due to the dramatic increase in hospitalizations, medical processionals nationwide are reporting shortages of saline, which is used to hydrate and medicate patients. The federal drug administration (FDA) says it’s working to mitigate the shortage. Some hospitals are also reporting shortages of the antiviral drug “Tamiflu” but the FDA says these shortages are spotty at worst.
This year, most flu cases can be traced back to H3N2, a strain that can lead to severe health complications. Some studies suggest that this year’s flu vaccine is 20% less effective in fighting this particular strain of flu. There’s no doubt this flu season is particularly bad. And experts say we have yet to see the worst of it. So make sure you are taking the proper health precautions — vaccinate yourself and constantly keep your hands clean.