Flu Epidemic! Worst Outbreak of Influenza in 10 Years, Says CDC

If you have any of these symptoms, then you may have the flu and should contact your doctor. Photo by:

If you have these symptoms, then you may have the flu and should contact your doctor. Photo by: Mikael Haggstorm

The flu has now reached epidemic levels, according to the CDC.

This is the worst flu season in ten years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The flu season is from November until March and we haven’t hit the peak yet.

Hospitals are struggling to keep up with the patients that are coming in with the flu and some hospitals are having to turn people away. Some hospitals, like Lehigh Valley Hospital are setting up a  triage area outside because the emergency rooms are overflowing with patients. In one hospital in Chicago, they have seen a twenty percent increase in flu patients every day, according to ABC News.

Swine Flu Pandemic 2009 vs. 2012-2013 Flu Season

Many of us recall the H1N1 flu (or swine flu) outbreak of 2009. It was a new virus and many people were frightened about its implications. In April 2009 the United States saw its first case of the H1N1 flu. By June 11, 2009 the WHO declared a pandemic. From April 15, 2009 to July 24, 2009 states reported a total of 43,771 cases of probable and confirmed influenza cases. Of these cases 5,011 people were hospitalized and 302 people died, according to the CDC. So how does this compare to what we are seeing during this flu season?

First, the H1N1 was a novel strain, meaning that it was new; this is not the case during the 2012-2013 flu season. That makes a huge difference in numbers. With a new illness, experts don’t know how it’s spread, what treatment options will work, and other information that help protect and prevent a large number of cases. Having a ‘regular’ flu season helps keep numbers low, since experts know how the viruses are spread and what treatment options work.

For the 2012-2013 flu season, 29 states are reporting high amounts of flu activity and the CDC reports that flu is widespread in 41 states. Since October 1, 2012 there have been 2,257 people hospitalized with the flu, and 18 children have died. The numbers are still much lower than what we saw in the H1N1 flu pandemic; however, the flu season is not over yet.

Click to Read Page Two: Epidemic Flu Season?

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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  1. observant says

    My 4y/old has been sick for already 2 weeks. I have been twice at the pediatrician’s office because it seems so much that a flu that I thought it was an ear infection, an urinary infection…
    I have seen the kids arriving to the pediatrician and it is heart-breaking.
    In my opinion alternative medicine is what works best now. A vaccine is not a bad idea but boosting up your immune system with good eating and supplements is way more important. One you’ve got it, you need to do your best to give high quality liquids and nutrition. I am using Mullein and Bronchosan for the lungs, elderberry extract to boost the immune system.
    This is really bad in spite of what statistics might be saying. There is no way to sleep a single night more than 2 hours in a row and at moments it seems like more than I can handle.

  2. Zaza says

    The only medication that helps for the viral infection is Temiflue. Your doctor has to subscribe it within 48 hours of your first symptoms. Antibiotics are only for covering secondary infection. Recovery time with Temiflue is 5 days, versus 10-15 days without it.

  3. Earthslave says

    The 2012/2013 influenza vaccine was made from the vaccines of three previously developed vaccines. Those being the three that were projected to be the most prevalent during the current flu season. I believe they are the H1N1 H2N2 and A Phil. This vaccine only protects against these strains and even if you get the vaccine you may contract a mild case from the vaccine. There are hundreds of other less prevalent strains ever present. Getting a flu vaccine is no guarantee against getting the flu but it is reasonably effective against the three strains represented in the vaccine.

  4. Michael fivueras says

    I have five children under 15 yrs old. I really hope this strain of flu goes bye bye ! Everyone is getting the shot. No it doesn’t prevent the flu, but rather lessens it’s affects. Kind of scary to know that the whole planet has an epidemic flu. Not just us.

  5. K says

    My daughter got the flu and it is awful! Poor thing the fever was bear to bring down and keep down. She has been miserable. The doctor said it was the H1N1 A flu. Although I am confused because I think there is another flu out there H3N2. This one is nasty!
    Wash your hands and don’t pick your nose ;)

  6. says

    Hand sanitizer does nothing to boost your imune system. The american diet has tone to crap. Eating food like products that are engineered to trigger fulfilled messages that quickly diminish producing a craving for more. These foods have been robbed of the nutrients out bodies need to allow our already existing amazing self-healing properties to take effect. so sure wash your hands – thats easy, – stay home – thats easy, get a flu shot – thats easy – Change your diet to eat healthy organic products, ohhhh thats too difficult and doesnt support the cough medicine and flu shot /diabetes machine. Ok so some of what I sad was sarcastic – please sonsider watching the following on Netflix – Food Inc, Foodmatters, Forks Over Knives, Ingredients, Hungry for Change, Fat sick and nearly Dead, Vegucated, Food fight, King Corn

  7. Mom2Miracles says

    I want to know too. Is this epidemic a stomach flu or a respiratory flu. I got the shot the day after Christmas and am just recovering from the flu but my symptoms were weird. Terrible stomach , body aches and fever but no vomiting. No reparatory symptoms at all. No idea how to categorize this one.

    • Alanna says

      Flu season refers to the respiratory flu, which generally does not include vomiting as a symptom, although some people have nausea due to post nasal drip. The shot doesn’t cover 100% of influenza strains, so you can still get uncovered strains

  8. wondering says

    So they are saying that influenza B is not in the vaccine, but they aren’t saying or perhaps even tracking what percentage of the people have influenza B. And now, for the first time, they’re admitting (or at least the media is admitting) that the vaccine is about 62% effective.

    Whatever your feelings may be about the flu shot, my concerns are that other basic things are being overlooked–teaching people the PROPER way to cover their sneeze and cough, washing hands and other means of hygeine. Oh, and HELLO???? what about the fact that so many people don’t get paid sick days–especially people who work in restaurants. Yeah, you probably would want to avoid restaurants during flu season, too, since financial considerations are undoubtedly forcing many people to work while sick.

  9. mommy says

    I really don’t like vaccinating my kids or myself from the flu. We always get sick afterwards. When do we know it’s time to just get the vaccination??

  10. 1sickMOMMA says

    All I know is we all got it ( husband, both kids and myself) and I swear I felt like I was dieing. My bones felt like they were dipped in liquid nitrogen I couldn’t breathe fever out the wazoo and a horrible headache. I had swine flu when it went around and in my opinion. This crap is MUCH worse.

  11. mxmom says

    Have the flu right now. Allergic to flu shot so I don’t get one & afraid to get one for my kids. Have to work tomorrow, but hearing this flu kicks ur butt. Have asthma & child with asthma so biggest fear is it hitting our respiratory systems hard. Gotta say an ER would be the last place I’d wanna b. If u didn’t have the flu goin in u will for sure 3 days after u leave. Couldn’t this flu have arrived before 2013. Gotta meet that insurance deductible. Timing sucks!

  12. Sassy days says

    I am really curious as to how many people who get the vaccination still get the flu. I’m 35, never had a flu shot, never had the flu. I have two children under 5, and I’m not nutty about germ control. I don’t wipe down shopping carts, we follow the 5 second rule with dropped snacks etc, they are otherwise vaccinated but not against seasonal flu. They go to a school where probably half the parents don’t vaccinate and no one I know has the flu.

  13. Rachel says

    What happened to the days of not getting a flu shot? Why did healthcare professionals start giving the flu shot?
    Go back to playing outside, rolling in the dirt and having your children and adults build an immunity to germs. Stop playing on the XBox and Skyping your friends; have some human interatction. Use good old fashioned soap and water. In today’s OCD society we have to Purel and Antibiomicrobial spray stuff to death. NEWFLASH-people WILL get sick.

    • Nick Lucki says

      Well – back in the days before OCD – if you were a child and you got a flu that lead to Pneumonia – you died. Flu deaths have drasticly dropped since wide spread vaccination began yearly for flu strains. Remember 1918 – if you got flu – you died – it even was a contributing factor to the end of WW1. The flu is a virus – it doesn’t know anything about Xbox or smartphones – or playing outside, it does know that human interaction is a great way to reproduce itself.

      Rolling around in the dirt is just going to get you dirty!

  14. sickasfork says

    Ugh!!i have the flu right now..slight fever body aches chills.but worst of all my symptoms is this horrible cold!sooo much pressure,both nostrils are clogged .i havent been able to breathe through my nose in 3 days this is rediculous .i literally want to run screaming because i cant breath.screw you flu!

  15. Brandy says

    I got the flu shot 2 days before Christmas and right now I have the flu. I went to the dr last night and she told me that this flu strain isn’t covered under the shot. So she said I got hit pretty hard. I’ve been sick for 10 days now. And it sux. She gave me like 4 different medications to kill this thing off. And so much for getting the flu shot. NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

  16. kristy foster says

    We received our Flu Shots in October 2012 .. but our family still got sick.. but thankfully it only lasted about 3 days. doctor said we would have been much worse without the shot

  17. Bob says

    I have the flu right now. I’m also not staying home or seeking treatment. I sneeze on EVERYTHING and don’t wash my hands after I use the toilet. Enjoy your subway!

  18. Janine says

    I never get sick, but I am only now beginning to recover from what seems like the worst flu I have experienced since I was a kid. It came on fast and hit both my husband and I hard. He got it first and is further along in his recovery. This is my fourth day in bed, but at least today my body aches are gone. We went to the doctor though yesterday and got amoxicillan prescribed. I should of asked how that works on viruses? Do we not have a virus? But I was such in a flu fog that I forgot to ask. None the less, we are both feeling some better today. Don’t know if the meds are helping, if it’s having a placebo affect or if we are just finally pulling out of this misery on our own. Don’t care – if I feel better, don’t care how I am getting there… I just want to continue get there!

    • Alanna says

      the medications they give are usually to fight opportunistic secondary infections, like sinusitus, that attack your weakened immune system. They don’t actually fight the flu virus itself.

  19. Jason says

    The media is hyping this just as they did back in 2009. The most “alarming” statistic out there is that Boston has 700 confirmed cases…that’s 0.1% of the population. They say for every confirmed case there are usually 3-5 unconfirmed cases…so lets say 5. That works out to 4200 total cases (3500 unconfirmed and 700 confirmed). That still only adds to 0.6% of the Boston population. Yeah, a lot of people when you look at just the numbers, but how they link these statistics and ratios to words like “severe” and “widespread” I don’t understand.

    Sure, maybe 700 confirmed cases (10% higher than normal this year, as they have said) or 0.6% overall is more severe than a typical season, but that is far from widespread. There is no reason to fear leaving your house. Nobody in the media has clarified the fact that while the numbers are more severe than normal, that this is nowhere near an endemic or outbreak.

  20. Trish T says

    ah yes another reason to buy hand sanitizer and 101 other things that put money into the pharmaceutical companies in the US (who are by far our worst enemies in health care)

    I have never had a flu shot nor has anyone n my family in over 30 years. we let our bodies build what they need to fight infection. All of u are far healthier than co-workers who use hand sanitizers like it was water.

  21. Big Al says

    My pharmacist says it takes a full two weeks for a flu shot to build any immunity and that is not a given. So, I loaded up on Vit C, B12, Echinacea and hand sanitizer. Don’t even think about coming near me if you have symptoms!

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