If you’ve been working the last couple of weeks, you’ve likely noticed more empty desks around the office than normal. That’s because here in the St. Louis area, the number of cases of the flu is exploding. From STLToday.com:
There were 1,304 cases of flu in St. Louis County in the last week of 2017, a record weekly tally, health officials said.
Statewide, there have been 17,182 cases this season compared to 2,041 cases last year at this time. There have been nearly 500 deaths from pneumonia and influenza in Missouri since October. Illinois also reports widespread flu activity, with flu-related doctor visits three times higher than normal for this period.
“This year has turned out to be highest flu activity in the last four years, and we haven’t even hit the peak yet,” said Dr. Steven Lawrence, an infectious disease specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “We’re looking at what could be the worst — by numbers — flu season in 10 or more years.”
Anyone with flu-like symptoms (a fever above 100 degrees, cough, body aches and pains, fatigue) should seek medical attention and stay home from work or school.
Why is the flu so bad this year?
Regular readers know that we’ve been talking a lot about the spread of the flu, and that’s because of how severe this season is compared to recent years.
So we wanted to dig into why this year is so bad. As it turns out, the flu shot is tailored each year to attack the strain medical professionals think will be most prevalent that year. This process, as we’re seeing, is not an exact science.