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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

2017 flu outbreak status: 01/17/2017

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health - a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM - that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

While the 2017 seasonal flu outbreak is emerging, public health officials suggest this year's flu vaccine is a match for many of the outbreaks that are occurring throughout the U.S.

Specifically as of early January 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) FluView website suggests there is a higher flu outbreak in these states: New York, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Utah.

The CDC notes the incidence of flu is more moderate in 10 states; is lower in five states, and has yet to emerge significantly in 25 states. The CDC's FluView notes there are current, widespread differences in the number of flu cases within some high outbreak states such as: New York, Oklahoma, and Oregon. There also are widespread differences in flu cases within a few other states including: California, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Since October 1, 2016, 1,376 laboratory-confirmed, flu associated hospitalizations have occurred in the U.S. The highest hospitalization rates, to date, are among adults age 65 or older and age 50-64, as well as among children younger than five years old.

Most importantly, the CDC's FluView site suggests flu cases will increase across the U.S. in coming winter weeks.

The CDC's FluView website is available within the 'statistics and research' section of MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page.

CDC officials also recently told HealthDay the prominent flu strain is H3N2 that often signals a severe season, which impacts seniors, infants, and toddlers more significantly than other adults, children, and teens.

A CDC official tells HealthDay the current flu vaccine is a match for all the circulating viruses, which is difficult to anticipate from year to year. The CDC encourages all Americans, and especially the very young, elderly, chronically ill, and women who are pregnant, to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

The CDC adds it is not too late to get a flu shot. The CDC reminds us while the vaccine is intended to prevent the flu — if adults or children get the flu following a shot, your reaction may be milder than if you skip the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the CDC provides a question and answer webpage about seasonal flu within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page.

The National Institutes of Health provides helpful information to distinguish among the flu, a cold, and allergies within the 'diagnosis and tests' section of MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page.

The CDC also provides a useful website on preventing the flu within the 'prevention and risk factors' section of MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to relevant clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available within the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about the flu as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page, please type 'flu' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'flu (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages devoted to flu shots and common colds.

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A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you! Please join us here next week and here's to your health!