From Google Flu Tracker
The flu season has arrived — and it’s weeks early.
In one week, 16 states and New York City reported high levels of the flu. By the following week, that number was up to 29.
Each day for the past week, more than 500 New Yorkers have descended on emergency rooms with flu symptoms, according to a city website.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in high flu states 70 percent to 80 percent of the coughs you hear around you right now stem from the flu.
Each cough, sneeze or even conversation puts the virus into the air — and potentially into your lungs.
The virus goes everywhere — onto railings and the salt shakers in the diner; on the keys of the ATM; and on every door anyone touches.
The flu virus can survive two to eight hours on hard surfaces such as metal and plastic — touch it and you can spread it to your nose and mouth from your hand.
Now, there are ways to track the influenza outbreak using Google and Facebook.
But, what should YOU do to protect yourself?
- Get vaccinated against flu – it’s your best defense.
- Cover your cough, wash hands often.
- Take antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them.
The influenza map this January is not very favorable no matter where you are in the United States, so please consider vaccination, if you have not already done so. Having been hospitalized with the influenza virus a few years ago, I can attest that it is a very nasty disease.