Flu season lasting longer than usual during pandemic

Coronavirus

(NewsNation) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, America is undergoing a month-long outbreak of the flu, well past the typical season.

Flu season in the U.S. typically peaks in the winter, with the highest flu activity most often in the month of February, according to the CDC.

But that is not the case this year. The health agency is reporting an increase in cases months later than we normally see this virus peak.

As spring turns to summer, parents are unexpectedly having to care for sick kids.

Hospital beds being taken up by flu patients have captured the attention of doctors all across America.

“Influenza is interesting because of the way it starts,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, infectious disease expert at UC Davis Health. “It usually starts quite suddenly, you feel like you’re hit by a train.”

The CDC estimates there have been nearly 6 million flu cases so far this year, leading to nearly 60,000 hospitalizations and 3,600 deaths.

Pair that with a pandemic, the U.S. has seen a 21% increase in COVID-19 cases over the last week.

“We still haven’t sorted out what the exact vaccine schedule is,” Blumberg said. “And we don’t know when boosters are needed. COVID still hasn’t settled into a seasonal respiratory pattern.”

Common symptoms between the two include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and sore throat.

But there are some differences to look out for:

  • If you have the flu. symptoms will appear sooner.
  • If you have COVID. you’ll notice a gradual increase in the respiratory symptoms and also the loss of taste and smell.

“Getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do to prevent infection, and the masking works for both,” Blumberg said.

The good news is that these flu cases may be on the decline, as the CDC reported a decrease in the number of patients hospitalized for the first time since January.

However, there are still some hotspots across America. Right now. New Mexico has high transmission of the flu and moderate transmission has been reported in Colorado and Massachusetts.

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