This 2018 Flu Map Is Terrifying & Will Make You Want All The Lysol

Ad failed to load

My mom called me this morning and said that my dad was up in the middle of the night with a cough and headache. My immediate reaction? "It's the flu." Give me another season and another day, and I probably wouldn't have thought much about my dad's symptoms. But all of the talk about the flu has everyone a bit on edge about every sniffle and touch of nausea. Of course, this 2018 flu map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn't exactly helping. After all, what it's telling us is that the flu is, well, nearly everywhere.

“One of the challenges this year is the flu shot is not as effective as we would’ve liked," Dr. Jann T. Caison-Sorey, associate medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, tells Romper in an email interview. "There are a lot more flu cases then what we had anticipated. It’s because of the nature of the flu strain this year — people are getting sicker. People are also waiting a little longer to see the doctor than they should be with flu symptoms."

Caison-Sorey says those symptoms are what you would expect of the flu, "they’re just hitting harder this year and more people." Those symptoms include fever, muscle aches and pains, stuffy nose, cough, headaches, chills, fatigue, and the most deadly, pneumonia. "People who may have compromised immune symptoms or a preexisting chronic disease, such as lung disease or asthma, may be more at risk for severe symptoms," Caison-Sorey says.

Ad failed to load

Crucial to preventing the flu? "Good hand washing," she says.

Giphy

In addition to keeping your hands clean, the CDC recommends adults and children alike take special precautions to guard against the flu, including avoiding close contact with sick people. Antiviral drugs — if your doctor prescribes them — and a yearly flu vaccine are also recommended. The CDC also noted everyone 6 months of age and older "should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community," typically by the end of October.

Ad failed to load

"Those who have not gotten the flu shot yet should still do so, as it prevented 71,000 flu-related hospitalizations during the 2015 to 2016 flu season," Caison-Sorey says, adding that flu shots are available through primary care physicians, local urgent care centers or retail health clinics.

Dr. Gary Kramer tells Romper that "this has probably been one of the busier years with the flu since the H1N1 swine flu epidemic." Kramer says he has been treating three to 10 kids a day for the flu, adding that he hasn't seen "an outbreak like this in eight years."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ad failed to load

"Because there is no guarantee that merely taking the vaccine will guard you from the flu, many parents are hesitant," Kramer says, pointing to preliminary data in Australia that suggests less than 10 percent efficacy of the vaccine. "Unfortunately there is no reliable way to anticipate this. One school of thought is that most 'healthy' children can combat the flu without incident and hence the vaccine is not of great value given the uncertainty of its efficacy."

But Kramer explains that while the decision to vaccinate or not is certainly a personal choice, "we must all think about the public health impact of flu prevention that the vaccine has in reducing the spread to others."

Also important? Don't ignore symptoms or wait too long to get treated if you do suspect you or your little one has the flu. According to Dr. Nicole Edwards, CEO and medical director of Abundant Life Concierge Medicine in Columbia, South Carolina, antivirals need to be started within 48 to 72 hours to be effective.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

"The flu can be deadly — it’s not just the congestion or sore throat or fever that is concerning," Edwards, who is also the medical director of True Counsel Behavioral Health, tells Romper in an email interview. "The flu can lead to other complications like pneumonia, sinus infection, and even respiratory failure, which can require intubation or lead to death.”

Oh, and let's not be heroes and show up to work when we feel like utter crap, mmk?

Ad failed to load

Because while I am not in the wrong to be a little bit freaked out about my dad's symptoms or my daughter sharing all the germs at her music class tomorrow, experts say with the right precautions — and action if you do recognize symptoms — we can kick this flu season's a*s.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}