Deadly 2018 Flu Season

The states with moderate or low levels of the flu are Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Utah,
Wisconsin, Florida, Idaho, Montana, and Utah.The cities and states that reported with the
highest activity of the flu were New York City,
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the
remaining 39 states.

There have been over 240,000 people that have been hospitalized. The elderly are three times
more vulnerable to the flu than the rest of the population. The majority of hospitalizations,
83.4%, were the result of type A flu virus infections.

To note, people with chronic diseases or medical conditions contributed to over 68% of
the hospitalizations. Moreover, the number of deaths from the flu within the United States has
grown to 97 deaths. Rest assured, the systemic symptoms from influenza -- the fever,
the aches, and pains, the sense of exhaustion -- all of those are still part of the body's response
to the virus. The flu stimulates an immune response in everyone's body, but for some people,
this natural response can be "overwhelming”, such as for youths, who are more susceptible to
a cytokine storm. Cytokines are proteins that are created as part of the inflammatory response
and a storm can lead to sepsis and organ failure in the person.

Although the flu is not supposed to kill you, people experiencing a cytokine storm or who have
medical conditionssuch as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes are more likely to die from
the flu. Young children, especially those under five years of age because they lack
immunologic experience against the virus, and the elderly are most vulnerable to dying from
the flu.

A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine examined 20,000 patients in
Ontario, Canada. This study determined that people were six times more likely to experience
heart attacks within the first seven days of the flu, and the risk is higher for older adults.
The research identified 364 hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction among the flu
cases studied, which was more likely for people with influenza B than influenza A. Munoz,
a member of the Department of Infectious Disease, noted that the flu occurs every year
with 50 to 100 deaths; she recommends that particularly children need to be vaccinated
in order to curb fatalities.