The rate of Herndon-area residents with the flu was low to moderate in mid-December, but according to Google Flu Trends it has spiked to high and is heading toward intense.
The Centers for Disease Control is reporting high levels of flu-like-illness across the country, and though some areas have reached their peak others are still on the upswing. Flu season typically peaks in January and February.
Forty seven states are reporting widespread geographic flu activity, including Virginia. Twenty four states including Virginia are reporting high levels of flu-like-illness, while 16 are reporting moderate levels.
While CDC information is based on actual data from previous weeks, Google Flu Trends is based on people searching for terms related to the flu and aggregated Google search data. GFT's model attempts to track flu trends in real time. To see how Google's data compares to CDC data, click here.
Last year, flu cases in Fairfax County stayed in the low to moderate range all year, and with most cases being reported between January to March. The current spike is higher than when activity skyrocketed in October 2009, according to GFT data.
The CDC addressed the rising levels of flu cases in a press release last week.
“While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Joe Bresee, who is Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division.
“Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now,” Bresee said. “And it’s important to remember that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated. Also, you don’t need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals.”
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in Herndon that offer the vaccine (besides your own doctor, of course):
- Walgreens (603 Elden St.)
- Safeway Pharmacy # 1689 (413 Elden St.)
- CVS/Pharmacy Store # 1402 (1602 Elden St.)
- Giant Pharmacy # 773 (1228 Elden St.)
- Click Here for More Locations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following information:
- Preventing the spread of the flu
- Who should get vaccinated
- When to get vaccinated
- Selecting a flu vaccine
- Symptoms, complications and severity
- Treatment if you get the flu
- How flu spreads
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