If you left your home at any point this past winter, then you were probably fearful of catching the flu. The 2018 flu season has been a very stressful one and is considered to be one of the worst flu seasons that doctors had seen in years. But there now might be some good news — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said the flu season is finally slowing down, so parents can now breathe a little easier as winter comes to an end.
The amount of reported cases of the flu have been decreasing each week, according to U.S. News & World Report, and this past week was no different. Cases of Influenza B (which is less severe) have been more common than Influenza A, meaning the recent reported cases of the flu are a little less serious than they had been in the beginning of the year. While these numbers are indeed great news, especially since the flu season was an absolute whirlwind this year, the nation isn't completely out of the woods just yet.
Flu-linked hospitalization rates are still rising, according to U.S. World News & Report, and pediatric flu deaths are still increasing as well, with nine additional deaths being reported last week. While the current flu activity isn't as massive as it was in the beginning of the year, according to the CDC, 12 states are still reporting high flu activity and it's expected to continue for the upcoming weeks, so parents should still remain a little cautious.
If it seems like you hear every week that the flu season is winding down, you're not wrong. According to the CDC, the reported cases of the flu have been decreasing and the peak of this flu season is now a thing of the past, according to NBC News. But just because the peak is over, the season is still very much present. "There is still a lot of influenza to come and so we're likely to see influenza continue to circulate until April," Daniel Jernigan, one of the CDC's top flu experts told NBC News.
Although the weather might be warming up in your area and allergy season might be underway, you shouldn't brush off those runny noses or sore throats in your household as seasonal allergies, because flu season is still occurring for at least another month.
By now, most cautious parents have done all they can to prevent their children from getting the flu, but it's still not too late to have a plan of attack when it comes down to it, like getting the flu shot, according to NBC News, even if the shot only protects children and from certain strains of the flu. Parents should make sure their children are practicing every day precautions when it comes to the flu, being sure to stay away from sick people, regularly wash their hands, and avoid touching their face to stop the spread of germs.
If your child does get sick this late into flu season, according to the CDC, it is important that they stay home to avoid spreading their germs to others and for parents to contact their health care provider to figure out the next steps. Considering how fatal this flu season has been — according to the CDC, there have been a total of 128 flu-related pediatric deaths and the flu has killed up to 4,000 people a week, according to Fortune — parents should still take every extra precaution until it's totally and completely in the past.
While it is great news that the reported flu cases have been declining, schools, kids, and families aren't in the clear just yet. The possibility of catching the flu and these germs are still lurking out there and might be active for a while longer. Parents can breathe a bit easier now about the threat season with this latest news, but they should still remain cautious.
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