Dangerous Flu Season Continues Across Nevada, Nation - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Dangerous Flu Season Continues Across Nevada, Nation

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Courtesy: MGN Courtesy: MGN

This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst on record, both in flu cases and deaths. Last week, pneumonia and influenza accounted for more than 10% of deaths in the United States.

"This was about the worst I could see in terms of influenza activity looking this widespread all at once," Dr. Randall Todd, Director of Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness at the Washoe County Health District said.

151,983 people have had the flu in the U.S. during this flu season, and the flu has killed 10,948. There have been 4,066 confirmed cases in Washoe County, killing 19 residents. Flu season runs from the 40th week of the year to the 20th week of the next year, basically from October to May. The Washoe County flu deaths may not seem like a large number, but it is compared to previous years. "So that's 19 through week five," Todd said. "Last year, for the entire year going from week 40 through week 20, we had only eight."

There were only three flu deaths two years ago, and seven during the previous year. This flu season is only about halfway over.

Yashila Sanchez is a Reno resident who had the flu, this year. It caused her to miss work while she recovered.

"I was in bed for at least three days, not being able to move or anything," Sanchez said. "I had to drink a lot of water and just rest. I was very achy."

Experts say the best defense against the flu is getting vaccinated. While the shot may not keep everyone from getting sick, Todd says it is still a good idea to get one, even this late in the season.

"Getting some protection is better than not having any, and also there is some evidence that suggests that, if you do get the flu after having had a flu shot, it may not be as severe or last as long," Todd said.

Sanchez did not get a flu shot until after her illness. She says getting vaccinated beforehand would have been worth it, if it meant avoiding the flu.

"After feeling like that for a whole week and just being out of it and had to take work off, I need money, so I wish I would've gotten the flu shot," Sanchez said.

People are also encouraged to wash their hands often and keep a clean workspace. They should also cough and sneeze into their sleeve instead of covering their mouths with their hands. If you don't feel well, it is best to stay home.

"It's really bad," Sanchez said. "There was at least two people at work that had it and then I got it and everyone at work got infected."

Flu cases spiked around the new year and have steadily declined in the five weeks since. While many east coast and Midwest states are seeing an week-to-week uptick in flu cases, Nevada and our neighboring states are seeing a decline. Still, Todd says it is possible that there could be a secondary peak, possibly with a different strain before flu season ends.

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