Important Information on the 2015 Flu Epidemic and Home Health Care in Florida

In December of 2014, the Center for Disease Control formally announced that the U.S. was in the middle of a flu epidemic. By January 15, 2015 the number of states reporting ILI’s, or ‘Flu Like Illness’ rose from 13 to 46. As of February 6th, 2015, 45 children have died from complications from the flu, compared to 27 pediatric deaths reported this time last year.

The announcing of an epidemic is startling, but the truth is, there is a flu epidemic every year. When the national averages for flu-like illnesses creeps over the baseline, it’s considered an epidemic. The baseline (average of) elevated flu reported illnesses in the U.S. is 2.0%, and the percentage being reported as of February 7th, 2015 is 3.8%; which shows an actual decrease in ILI’s being reported since the first week of January.

The most common strain of the flu being reported this season is the Influenza A, or H3N2, the strain that causes the more severe symptoms compared to other strains. Symptoms such as respiratory difficulties and high fevers are the causes for an increase in hospital admissions, especially in older adult and young children.

What complicates matters is that there is a ‘drifted,’ or mutated strain of the H3N2 virus. There is no vaccine available for the mutated virus, but CDC officials state that the current vaccine will provide some protection and may ease the severe symptoms caused from the mutated strain. Because the vaccine contains the original H3N2 virus, it’s highly recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, but particularly for people 65 and older, young children and the chronically ill.

Because numerous home health care businesses have clients who fall into the 65 and older and/or chronically ill category, many staff have chosen to get the flu vaccine in order to protect the people who are the most vulnerable to the virus. Other intervention methods that are standard practice include; covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands often, staying at home when sick, and cleaning surfaces and objects routinely with disinfectant.

The management and staff at Best Care always takes the utmost precautions by preventing the spread of cold and flu viruses, and you can feel free to contact us about any concerns or questions that you might have concerning virus-prevention protocol that we have in place.

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