A report released on Friday, January 10th, 2014 reveals that 35 states are now reporting the presence of widespread influenza activity. However, unlike years in the past, the primary demographic being affected by the flu outbreak is those between the ages of 18-64. Many prior flu seasons
saw the highest rates among children and the elderly.
According to the report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the H1N1 strain accounts for more than half the influenza specimens that have been tested this year. This strain has been nearly dormant for some time but is addressed with every flu vaccine. Although, over 61% of those who have been affected are young and middle aged individuals who have not received the flu shot.
To help avoid the influenza from reaching epidemic proportions, the CDC is urging everyone over 6 months of age to receive this year's flu vaccine as soon as possible. According to reports, only 31% of individuals between the ages of 18-49 receive the vaccination each year.
In addition to getting a flu shot, standard hygiene practices are encouraged, including:
- Regular hand washing and hygiene practices
- Covering the mouth when coughing and/or sneezing
- Avoiding going to work or school when sick