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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.
The 2018 seasonal flu outbreak is widespread in the U.S. and has resulted in challenges for medical centers across the country.
Specifically, as of late January 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) FluView website suggests there is a high flu outbreak in 39 states, New York City, and Puerto Rico.
The CDC's FluView notes there is a moderate flu outbreak in the District of Columbia and five states (Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, and Vermont). FluView reports there is a low flu outbreak in Alaska, North Dakota, and Utah. FluView adds there is a minimal flu outbreak in Delaware, Maine, and Montana.
In late January, the CDC reports the proportion of outpatient visits for the flu in all ten of its U.S. regions are at - or above - the baseline levels for previous years. Moreover, the CDC reports the proportion of Americans seeing a health care provider for the flu was 6.6 percent nationwide, which is significantly above the expected baseline of about 2.2 percent. FluView notes the proportion of Americans who saw a provider for flu care in late January was the highest since 2009.
In addition, since October 1, 2017, 11,965 laboratory-confirmed, flu associated hospitalizations have occurred in the U.S. By comparison, there were less than 1,400 flu associated hospitalizations in mid-January just a year ago. To date, the highest hospitalization rates are among adults age 65 or older, age 50-64, as well as among children four years old or younger.
Tragically, the CDC reports 37 American children have died from the seasonal flu in the past four months.
The CDC's FluView site reports the current information from across the country suggests the flu outbreak should remain active for the next several weeks. We should add flu statistics change frequently.
Unsurprisingly, the New York Times as well as other national news organizations are reporting an overflow of patients in many hospitals in rural, suburban, and urban areas across the U.S. News stories note temporary shelters to treat flu patients have popped up in hospitals in several cities.
Incidentally, the CDC's FluView website is available within the 'statistics and research' section of MedlinePlus.gov's flu health topic page.
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.
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!