Flu Appearances Earlier Than Expected in California


It's as good a reminder as any to bundle up and eat your vegetables despite the early appearance of the disease this season.

ABC7 reports on word from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that moderate flu activity is already being spotted in California. Despite typically finding victims by January or February, the virus has begun to spread at the tail end of December.

Current estimates put the peak flu season between the end of December and the end of January, though projections may change as new information is collected and the virus develops across the new year. At present, though, over 13,000 cases have been reported throughout the entire country, which is six times as many during the same period in 2016.

In California alone, Montrose's Adventist Health Urgent Care has seen the amount of patients with flu-like symptoms double compared to last year at the same time, with most of them testing positive for the virus. One estimate even put the number of flu patients at 30 a day based on these numbers. Los Angeles County, however, is one area of the state hit hardest. So far, 19 people have already died from the flu or related illnesses during this season.

The seriousness of the illness for patients comes largely from the particular strain of the virus being contracted, known as Influenza A or H3N2. Symptoms of this virus are often more severe than a typical flu and have been known to send otherwise healthy people to the hospital. Back pain, shoulder aches, joint pain, and high fevers breaking over 100 degrees Fahrenheit are common symptoms of the disease, with anyone who believes they may have the disease being asked to take preventative care measures and visit a hospital if their condition starts to worsen.

The CDC and the Los Angeles County Health Department urge everyone who is able to receive a vaccination for the virus, as the most effective means of treatment remains prevention. The most vulnerable groups to contract the disease remain the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems, who also happen to be the groups who might be least likely to vaccinate or be able to vaccinate. Additionally, everyone should remember to thoroughly wash their hands throughout the day, avoid touching their face area and other orifices without reason, and to stay warm in colder weather to prevent the virus from replicating more quickly.