As the deadly 2018 flu season rages on, hospitals and healthcare workers are becoming increasingly overburdened. Per the CDC, there were almost 12,000 influenza-related hospitalizations reported since October, translating to 41.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 people. The highest hospitalization rate is among people over 65, followed by people between 50-64 years old. Children under four are also especially vulnerable.
Meanwhile, the CDC says doing these three things will help prevent the spread of the virus and mitigate the severity of new cases:
- Get vaccinated: Seriously, this is no joke. The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older get a flu vaccine once a year, before flu activity begins (and before school starts for kids). Vaccinations are especially important for high-risk individuals like older people and healthcare workers.
- Stop the spread: Preventative steps like washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding contact with sick people, and staying home from work when you’re sick can stop the spread of germs. If you feel symptoms coming on and you’re unsure if it’s the cold or the flu, there’s more information here.
- Antiviral flu drugs: If you do get sick, the CDC says antiviral prescription drugs can be an effective flu treatment–if your doctor prescribes them. The drugs can lessen the impact of a severe flu and speed up your recovery time.