feature graphic for news from the Centers for Disease Control during COVID-19. CDC logo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Flu widespread in California, with 265 reported deaths

Here is a scary map released this week showing how widespread the flu is this season (2018-2019):

2018-19 Influenza Season Week 8 ending Feb 23, 2019
2018-19 Influenza Season Week 8 ending Feb 23, 2019

A weekly report from the California Influenza Surveillance Program (pdf) states that 265 people have died since September 30, 2018. Both outpatient influenza-like illnesses and hospitalizations are above expected levels. The predominating virus is Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09.

The current flu vaccine effectiveness estimate is about 47%.

The best protection against flu is getting vaccinated.

The flu is spread generally person to person, when someone who is infected coughs, sneezes, or talks within six feet or so of someone else. Unfortunately, you may not even know that you’re infected. The CDC notes:

Symptoms can begin about 2 days (but can range from 1 to 4 days) after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others.

Do you have young children at home? Check out the CDC’s recommendations on how to protect young children. Caution: infants younger than six months cannot be vaccinated.