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The Flu Is No Joke This Year

The Flu Is No Joke This Year

Everything you've read is true and worse, it may be spread by breathing.

As someone who just got over the flu, I can safely tell you it's no joke this year! I ended up in the hospital with 103.5 fever and my local ER looked like a scene from the movie Outbreak (without the subtle charm of Morgan Freeman). 

I forgot how bad the flu actually is. Then again, this strain of the influenza virus appears to be different and new research suggests one of the vectors of transmission is simply breathing in the virus, which can stay airborne for minutes or even hours.

A hundred years ago, the Influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than World War I, with some estimates putting it as high as 40 million people. The 1918 pandemic was a rare, highly contagious genetic variation of the flu, believed to have started in China.

This year, there is a new strain that may be spread not only by coughing and sneezing, but simply by breathing, researchers say in a new report.

You may have thought that’s how it’s spread,  but according to experts, conventional wisdom up until now was that it was not an airborne virus “but only spread by fairly large droplets, from coughing or sneezing.”

The  flu season that has peaked across the continental United States all at once.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that influenza activity continues on the upswing, with the whole country experiencing the annual influenza epidemic at the same time. So far this season, flu has killed 30 children, the CDC reports.

Symptoms, according to the CDC include:

Fever* or feeling feverish/chills


Sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Muscle or body aches

Headaches Fatigue (tiredness)

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

The CDC suggests getting to the doctor immediately especially if you are at high risk for complications. This includes people living with HIV. 

According to the CDC website, "When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people at high risk of serious flu complications, treatment with antiviral drugs can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay."

A thorough primer on treatment can be found here.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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