Influenza has been steadily spreading in Arizona over the last few weeks and this week we hit the Widespread Influenza threshold. In fact, the number of cases increased by 50% this week- and several Arizona emergency departments are backed up with substantial wait times. CDC’s report is due to come out Friday… but I’d guess that most states will also report widespread activity. H1N1, the flu strain that caused the 2009 pandemic, is the most common strain out there right now.
Luckily, this year’s flu vaccine includes H1N1, so people who’ve been vaccinated will be protected. If you haven’t gotten your shot yet, you still can – just remember it takes about 2 weeks for the shot to fully protect you. Some other things to remember are to stay home when you’re sick so you don’t infect other people, wash your hands often, and cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze. Also, if you’re not having severe symptoms like a really hard time breathing or chest pain, then call your doctor instead of heading straight to the ER.
On the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) front… we’ve had 495 cases reported so far this year. That’s about a 70% decrease from the number of cases we saw this time last year. Like every year, most of our cases are in kids under the age of 5, so it’s really important to keep your little ones healthy by washing their hands often, keeping them away from other sick kids, and keeping them at home when they’re ill.