Get your flu shot, wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if your sick….we’ve all heard this so many times, it’s like a broken record playing in the background. In every pocket of the continental United States, people are experiencing flu symptoms right now, the first time that this has happened in the 13 years of the CDC’s current tracking system. With recent news of the flu becoming an epidemic across the United States it’s time we began paying attention to the signs, symptoms, and the thought of getting a flu shot.

Health officials say that the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Sometimes people with the flu can have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults. If you or someone you know is sick with some of these symptoms, they should consider medical attention, especially if they are at high risk of complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not know exactly how many people die from the flu each year but estimates there were between 12,000 and 56,000 flu-associated respiratory and circulatory deaths annually over the last few seasons. While flu severity can vary seasonally, people age 65 years and older usually experience the greatest burden of illnesses.

Gina Newton, William Bee Ririe Hospital and Clinic’s Public Relations Director reported that from October 2017 to January 2018 positive Influenza strains A and B had a total of 17 combined cases reported where one case had actually received the flu vaccination. No deaths and very few hospitalizations have been reported. Although the usual peak of the season is still four to six weeks away, according to health officials, this looks to be an above average flu season with widespread activity across the country and in Nevada.In an AP news report it was stated that a century after one of history’s most catastrophic disease outbreaks, scientists are rethinking how to guard against another super flu like the 1918 influenza that killed tens of millions as it swept the globe. Named the Spanish Flu that became the story of the deadliest Pandemic in History. New strategies are being tested. Researchers are dissecting the cloak that disguises influenza as it sneaks past the immune system, and finding some rare targets that stay the same from strain to strain, year to year.Three more flu pandemics have truck since in 1957, 1968 and 2009, spreading widely but nowhere near as deadly.Adam Young, Superintendent of the White Pine School District was contacted to find out if a large number of students have been reported out of school due to the flu. Young said “at this time in the school year, we have not seen an absentee rate higher than normal. I have our custodial crew and nurse staff taking extra precautionary steps to try and prevent infection within our schools”.Nevada’s low influenza immunization rate of approximately 36%, the lowest in the nation does not help with the numbers either. Newton said Flu shots are still available at the clinic, and insurances do cover them. Medicaid requires their patients have an appointment but other insurances can just walk in. Economy Drug also provides the flu shot.It usually takes two weeks for the vaccine to reach full potency, but the health district says many people will see benefits within just a few days.No flu vaccine is 100% effective. Research indicates last year’s statistics indicate flu vaccinations are estimated to have prevented about 5.1 million flu illnesses, 2.5 million flu-associated medical visits, and 71,000 flu-associated hospitalizations, which says studies also show vaccinations can lessen the severity and duration of the flu if you contract the disease even if you got a flu shot.What can you do to help minimize the flu? Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap or use a alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve to stop germs from spreading and throw away used tissues.