You’ve read the headlines – the 2018 Flu Season has now reached record proportions! Starting earlier than usual in December, the virus first gained strength in California and quickly spread to 48 states across the country. Many people spent their holiday season passing the virus back and forth between family members, hampering social and travel plans. It hasn’t been uncommon to hear people say they haven’t been this sick for decades. At this point, the number of the population affected is at the same level as the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009, a new flu strain that had surfaced at that time for which we were not prepared. Previously coined the “hospitalizer” due to its severity causing record levels of hospitalizations, this year’s H3N2 Influenza strain is shaping up to be no different, continuing to circulate despite predictions that it would fade out as the season wore on.
The resultant strain on healthcare facilities has outgrown capacity in many areas, causing a number of them to expand services into parking lots under makeshift tents to handle the influx of patients. The worse part? All of this transpired before officially reaching the peak of the season, which typically occurs during the month of February. So, why is this year’s flu so bad and what can we do about it?