Influenza-like illness is on the rise, according to the most recent weekly
flu report from the Indiana State Department of Health (DOH).
Indiana, along with many other states, is experiencing a high level of
influenza-like activity early in the season, with seven deaths reported
since November. By comparison, no influenza-related deaths had been reported
at this time last year.
“We are now well into what appears to be a somewhat severe flu season,”
State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D., said in a statement released
on Monday. “However, it is absolutely not too late to become vaccinated. If
you have not been vaccinated this year, I encourage you to get vaccinated
now to protect you and your family.”
The 2012-13 vaccine protects against the three most common strains of
influenza: H3N2, H1N1, and Influenza B. Health officials say that although
cases of H1N1 and Influenza B have been reported, the H3N2 strain appears to
be predominant. The 2012-13 vaccine appears to be a good match for
circulating flu strains.
“Typically, H3N2 seasons tend to be more severe, with a higher number of
hospitalizations and deaths,” Larkin noted. “Anyone experiencing flu-like
symptoms should contact their health care provider, even if they have been
Symptoms of the flu include:
•Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age or older. It is
especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to
the flu to become vaccinated. High-risk individuals include pregnant women,
young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune
systems, and the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
also recommends that all health care workers become vaccinated each year to
protect themselves and their patients.
Some other tips to help protect against the spread of influenza include:
•Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
•Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable
•Contain: Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your
germs from spreading.
For more information about Indiana’s 2012-2013 influenza season, visit DOH