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It's influenza season. At this time of year many people get sick with respiratory illness that can make life miserable and even become life threatening. Influenza like illness has been reported as elevated over the normal levels throughout Utah. Public Health Departments in Utah track the number of hospitalizations from Influenza and the number of deaths in children. We also watch things like the number of students who miss school (absenteeism rates) and the number of influenza lab tests done. The Utah Public Health Laboratory subtypes the lab results to see what strain is circulating, and this year the majority of samples have been Influenza A(H3).
We can expect higher hospitalization rates from flu this season, particularly among the very young, the very old and those with chronic medical conditions. We still recommend getting influenza vaccine because this years flu vaccine is expected to provide protection for about half of the Influenza A H3N2 strains and all of the B strains.
In addition to getting vaccinated, we recommend renewed vigilance in hand washing and that people stay home when sick. Even if you think your life isn't threatened by your illness, other people you may spread the illness to may be more vulnerable. Particularly as school gets back in session there is more potential for spread, so please do your part to keep our community healthy.
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