So Far This Season There Have Been Nearly 4000 Cases Of Influenza Reported Compared To The 751 Cases Reported Last Season
Influenza has seen significant drops in cases since the pandemic began, a trend that has led to many theories among scientists and researchers, but cases this season have seen a small spike and in some areas of the country the two viruses are even sometimes co-infecting people.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it is something of concern,” Arizona Department of Health Services Assistant Director Jessica Rigler said of the so-called “flurona” cases. “The biggest message here, in addition to COVID-19, influenza is another respiratory illness that is circulating out there in Arizona.”
Flu Cases Headed For A Strange Second Peak In Arizona In An Otherwise Mild Year
The flu in Arizonas better than average, worse than last year and is going up when it ought to be going down.
Thats the odd report out of the Arizona Department of Health Services on the flu, a persistent, respiratory killer thats been largely eclipsed by concerns about COVID-19 which causes far more deaths and spreads more easily.
The most recent tracking report included eight cases of flu in Navajo County, down from a peak of 41 in mid-January. Reports lag by about two weeks and generally dont capture most of the cases since most people who get flu dont get a laboratory test done.
Apache County reported just two cases, compared to a peak of six cases in early February.
Statewide, the state has reported 6,591 cases as of the most recent report. Weekly cases peaked at 877 at around Christmas, dropped to 236 at the end of January and bounced back up to 451 at the end of February. Total cases statewide remain about half of the five-year average.
The weird pattern likely reflects efforts taken to slow down COVID-19 offset by the low effectiveness of the flu vaccine this year.
The state department of health services most recent tracking report included 451 flu cases and 36 laboratory confirmed cases of RSV, another respiratory virus even more dangerous for children than the flu.
Most flu cases are type A, but another strain, HCN2, is also circulating.
Nonetheless, in 2019-20 the CDC estimated 22,000 people died from the flu and 400,000 were hospitalized.
How Can The Flu Be Prevented
Similar to protecting yourself against COVID-19, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself against the flu. Banner Health recommends the following:
- Getting your flu shot by the end of October, at the latest.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
For those age 6 months and older , the flu vaccine is also vital in keeping protected against the flu. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. For optimal protection, it is recommended that people get the flu shot annually because the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time.
The flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19 however, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Vaccinating against the flu can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses in the community and reduce the burden on local health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also receive the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine during the same visit.
Similar to keeping protected against COVID-19, it’s vital to stay vigilant this flu season to keep safe. Continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, get vaccinated and take other precautions, so you and your loved ones can enjoy the months ahead.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Flu Shot Twice
What Can Be Expected From The 2021
The 2021-22 flu season is already on par to become a significant flu season, according to experts. What’s behind this potential increase? According to the CDC, reduced population immunity due to lack of flu virus activity since March 2020 could result in an early and possibly severe flu season. The lack of virus activity during that period is likely due to people wearing face masks and staying home, hand-washing, school closures, reduced travel and physical distancing due to COVID-19. Additionally, a record number of flu shots were administered.
Don’t Forget A Flu Vaccine This Season
Flu activity was kept low last season because of vaccination, social distancing, masking, school closures and limited travel. Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting, flu has a much higher chance of spreading. We can all do our part to prevent illness and hospitalizations caused by flu by getting vaccinated.
You May Like: Do All Cvs Give Flu Shots
Influenza Activity Typically Begins To Increase In October And November Here’s How You Can Keep Yourself And Your Loved Ones Protected
Each year, millions of people become sick some even hospitalized with serious symptoms due to influenza, commonly known as the flu. According to the CDC Foundation, an average of 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year.
When it comes to battling the flu, both knowledge and prevention are key. Banner Health is here to help guide you through this flu season with the following need-to-know information.
When To See A Doctor
See if a doctor if you:
- Have a high fever lasting more than three to four days.
- Are so sick that you or your family cannot take care of you at home.
- Are extremely dizzy.
- Aren’t able to take fluids for 24 hours .
- Have an infant who’s not taking fluids and is starting to get dehydrated .
“Your doctor may start antiviral medicine within 48 hours of the onset of influenza symptoms. This is especially important if you’re at high risk for influenza complications. That encompasses people with heart or lung problems or a weakened immune system, those over 65 years old, and infants,” Dr. Anderson said.
“Most physicians will review your symptoms and listen to your lungs to make a diagnosis of influenza. Physicians will also use nasal swabs to rapidly diagnosis influenza in a matter of minutes,” he advised.
You May Like: Is It Good To Sweat When You Have The Flu
Find Out What’s Happening In Phoenixwith Free Real
So far this season, there have been nearly 4,000 cases of influenza reported, more than 400 percent more than the 751 cases reported during the entirety of last season. Rigler said ADHS is seeing more flu cases than predicted, but she noted cases have begun to plateau.
Cases of flu began to increase in mid-November and peaked around Christmas, when they quickly began falling off. Around this same time, omicron COVID-19 cases skyrocketed.
Flu Vaccines Expire At The End Of June
Anyone who has not had the vaccine needs to hurry up because supplies are expiring, Chandler family physician Dr. Andrew Carroll told The Republic.
Many doctors offices may no longer have the flu vaccine this late in the season, he said.
State health department spokesperson Steve Elliott told The Republic in an email that the vaccine will expire at the end of June, which means there is still time for people to benefit from it. People should check pharmacies or other providers if their doctor doesnt have it, he said. However, it is better for people to get the flu vaccine at the start of each flu season, Elliott wrote.
For anyone who can’t find a flu vaccine, Carroll advises taking other precautions like wearing an N95 or KN95 mask indoors to avoid both the flu and COVID-19, rates of which have been increasing in recent weeks.
“If you wash your hands, hand sanitize and you mask, you’re providing a decent layer of protection, and that’s the best thing to do at this time,” he said. “If you are going to the grocery store or a sports event or an airplane, you really should be wearing a mask.”
Don’t Miss: Target Cvs Minute Clinic Flu Shot
Find Out What’s Happening In Across Arizonawith Free Real
Those who get the flu may experience mild to severe illness. Among the common symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue and a runny or stuffy nose. You may feel better in a couple of days after symptoms begin, but the fatigue and cough could potentially last for two weeks or longer.
Arizona Sees Uptick In Flu Covid Cases
TUCSON, Ariz. – COVID cases and flu cases are both rising sharply as we head toward summer. But experts say it not something we can ignore.
The latest numbers from state heath services show just under 5,000 new COVID cases for the week of May 1, with 9% test positivity. Four weeks earlier, we had fewer than 2,000 new cases and test positivity was 3%
At the same time, new flu cases have nearly doubled and are now the highest since flu season started last October.
Date from the state health department shows a significant spike in flu cases in May. And it shows a steady trend upwards, even thought the temperatures are hot and most people are not aware flu season is still going strong.
And to make matters worse, Arizona is also seeing an increase in COVID cases at the same time., nearly a doubling of cases in the state and in Pima County is just the past two weeks.
But it brings to mind the concern many health experts had as we entered the flu season when the omicron variant was pushing cases upwards at a rapid clip. That concern was a twindemic, two respiratory diseases peaking at the same time.
Experts say COVID levels are expected to rise over the next few months, but flu cases will probably start trending down.
One reason for that is the school year is winding down, and students who have been exposed in closed classrooms will soon be free.
- 7831 N. Business Park Drive
- Tucson, AZ 85743
Recommended Reading: Symptoms Of Cold Flu Or Sinus Infection
Flu Down For Second Year Reason May Be As Plain As The Mask On Your Face
WASHINGTON Arizona flu cases are down sharply for the second year in a row, a decline that health experts are attributing to the health and safety precautions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the first week in March, the Arizona Department of Health Services had reported 6,591 confirmed flu cases in the state, less than 40% of the 16,849 cases that would have been reported at this point in the season, based on a five-year average.
While they cannot say for sure what is behind the drop, experts have a pretty good idea. To them, its as plain as the mask on your face.
The obvious answer is because of mitigation factors, the same thing that prevent you from getting COVID prevent you from getting the flu, said Frank LoVecchio, clinical professor and medical director of clinical research at Arizona State Universitys College of Health Solutions.
If you look at the average numbers of flu cases over the past five years or so, this year has been relatively mild, weve had less numbers, less cases of the flu this year, LoVecchio said.
But the drop in flu cases cannot be attributed solely to the flu vaccine, he said, since flu vaccination rates this year are not significantly higher than in previous years. LoVecchio said that points to COVID-19 safety protocols as the reason. Will Humble, the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association, agreed.
Arizona Flu Season Should Be Nearing An End But More Cases Are On The Rise
Arizona flu season should be nearing an end, but more cases are on the rise
Flu season should be winding down, but we’re seeing a bump in cases. FOX 10’s Linda Williams has more on why this is happening.
PHOENIX – As we head into the end of May, an unusual wave is hitting our state: a wave of flu cases. It is highly unusual to see numbers this high in late May.
“I had a fever chills I was achy,” said a student. “Like a lot of people at our school were out for it.”
A late round of flu? We talked to some north central Phoenix high schoolers who say it hit them about a week ago.
The number of flu cases in Arizona back up the rare occurrence of a double wave of flu in our state.
“It’s not like it’s a terrible influenza year. It’s just unusual to see it come in two separate waves. Sort of we’ll give you half today and half in a few months as opposed to giving it all to us in a single bolus around the holidays,” said Will Humble of the Arizona Public Health Association.
Humble says you can’t miss the trend on the graph showing Arizona’s flu numbers the double peak is obvious. He and others in the medical community agree this has to do with the pandemic and masking habits.
“I don’t remember a time ever that we’ve seen such a huge number of cases in May. This is really unusual. And I chalk it up to dropping of the mask mandates. Particularly on airlines. That’s the reason we’re seeing this spread right now,” said Dr. Andrew Carroll, a family physician.
Don’t Miss: Rite Aid Cold And Flu Relief
People Are Also Reading
The total number of cases in Pima County at the years close was 417, just shy of the 427 average.
The rate of increase in the number of cases tends to go up as the flu season kicks in and goes up for some time before leveling off and going down again, said Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan, chief science officer of Clover Health, which conducts the monthly Flu Shot Monitor survey of 300 Tucson seniors over 60.
Nationally, based on CDC data and trends, it does not look like the flu season has peaked. It will get more severe in the upcoming weeks, Dharmarajan said.
Moreover, these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg, said Eugene Livar, interim chief for the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control for the Arizona Department of Health. Not everyone with the flu goes to the doctor and not all flu cases are lab-tested.
The most vulnerable
The newborn to 18-year-old population is being hit hardest this flu season, according to national, state and county data. There have been no reported pediatric deaths in Arizona so far this season, although 13 children have died nationally from the flu.
Young people, 5 to 18 years old, comprise 33 percent of the cases in Arizona, Livar said.
The highest rates of hospitalization across the country are for children younger than 4 years of age. Adults 65 and older are the next most likely group to wind up hospitalized, according to the CDC.
Contact Mikayla Mace at or 573-4158. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.
No One Likes Getting Sick
And the flu virus changes every year. So, getting a yearly shot helps protect yourself and those around you. Plus, its available at no cost to you.
Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan welcomes you to participate in the AHCCCS statewide Roll Up Your Sleeve Initiative, which entitles you to a $10 gift card when you get your flu shot. Plus, you may be eligible to earn My Health Pays rewards.
The flu shot is a good idea for most. But some people are at a higher risk of health problems from the flu:
Also Check: Alka Seltzer Cold And Flu And Ibuprofen
What To Do When You Get The Flu
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
If you have symptoms of the flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider .
High risk groups for serious flu-related complications include: young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.
*Locations are not shown for confidentiality purposes
What Is The Flu
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The two main types of influenza viruses, Types A and B, are spread in people. The flu is spread person to person through droplets made when those with the flu cough, sneeze or talk within 6 feet of another person. Although person-to-person contact is the most common way the flu is spread, touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it might give someone the flu if they then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
You May Like: How To Use Oscillococcinum For Flu
As Arizona Flu Cases Slightly Increase The Season Is Far Below Average
PHOENIX – As COVID-19 cases dwindle, Valley experts are noticing another unusual trend as we near spring: a slight uptick in flu cases.
Ive seen it as early as October, November, said Dr. Andrew Caroll. But most of the time in the state of Arizona, we start to see an uptick in flu cases in late December.
However, Dr. Carroll says his practice in the Phoenix area is noticing positive after positive Influenza A tests as we hit mid-March. People with body aches and fever. And cough, he said. We were thinking COVID before. Now were having to include testing for flu because thats what were starting to pick up on.
As folks go about their normal activities and some mask requirements go away, the Arizona Department of Health Services also confirms a slight increase in flu cases, but not a spike as nearly as pronounced as earlier this season. It reports a 15% increase in flu cases this week compared to last week, which boils down to about a dozen cases.
We dont typically see two peaks in a single influenza season, said Jessica Rigler with AZDHS.
In addition, people have been taking some very good mitigation steps, including wearing masks and physically distancing from one another, Rigler said. And while that is very helpful with COVID, it can also help against influenza transmission.