The flu begins to subside in the United States after a brutal start to the season – NBC Denver

The flu is beginning to wane in many parts of the United States after an alarmingly early and strong start to the season.

The number of hospital admissions for the flu has fallen for the second week in a row, according to the national surveillance system run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visits to the doctor’s office for fever and other flu-like symptoms decreased for three consecutive weeks.

“It appears that for this first wave of (influenza) activity, we may have seen the worst of it,” said Lynette Brummer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who leads influenza surveillance at the US government agency.

But, he added, there is still a lot of flu going around there. CDC data shows that last week’s flu activity was high or very high in 45 states.

And the current decline does not mean that the flu will recede for the rest of the winter. Second mutations are common, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.

“Viruses love to make you look like an idiot when you predict what they’re going to do,” he said.

The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t start until December or January, but this one kicked off in early November. It has been complicated by the simultaneous spread of other viruses, including COVID-19 and RSV.

We are already in the cold and flu season, which many may be wondering about which virus is causing their symptoms. This is what you need to know.

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The traffic meter at doctors’ offices relies on reports of symptoms like fever, cough, and sore throat, not lab-confirmed diagnoses, so it captures all respiratory illnesses together. Whatever the current mix, the overall effect is diminishing.

Health officials said Friday that 6.3% of outpatient doctor visits last week were for flu-like illnesses. It came in at 7.5%, but it’s been down since Thanksgiving week.

Although flu activity remains high, officials said they’ve seen some declines in most parts of the country, including in the Southeast, where flu strikes early and hard.

The CDC estimates there have been at least 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths from the flu so far this season. The deaths include at least 17 children. Flu vaccinations are recommended for nearly all Americans who are at least 6 months old or older.

Health officials say it’s not too late to get vaccinated. “It’s not over,” Brummer said.

Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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