US Sees Worst Flu Season in Nearly a Decade

ABC World News Tonight (1/20, story 6, 1:40, Llamas) reported that the nationwide flu epidemic is “showing no signs of slowing down.” In total, 32 states are reporting high levels of flu activity, and “at least 30 children” have been killed nationwide by the flu. The CBS Evening News (1/19, story 3, 0:20, Glor) reported the flu “epidemic” worsened last week, based on CDC data showing “there are more than 14,000 new cases nationwide, bringing the total for the season to more than 74,000.” Last week alone, 10 children died due to the flu.

USA Today (1/19, Rossman) reported Dan Jernigan, MD, director of the Influenza Division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, “warned this flu season is very active and was ‘probably peaking’ last week” when the CDC counted 20 pediatric flu-related deaths. The piece said Dr. Jernigan and CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald “attribute the high flu activity to the prevalence of the H3N2 flu, this year’s most common form of flu.”

Please be sure to get your flu vaccine if you have not already done so.  If sick, stay home and rest to recover, drinking plenty of fluids. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and don’t share food or drink with others. See your doctor within 48 hours of onset of flu like symptoms (cough, fever, muscle aches) to consider medication.

Click here to learn how to Stop the spread of germs that can make you and others sick!

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It’s not too late to get your flu shot!!

Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February.

Flu activity can last as late as May.

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Teens putting laundry detergent pods in their mouths in new online video challenge

USA Today (1/11, May) reports on the “dangerous new online challenge” in which teenagers “are putting laundry” detergent pods in their mouths, then posting online videos of themselves doing so. The practice is dangerous, because “swallowing even a small amount of the highly-concentrated detergent found in pods (which can happen if people bite it and spit contents out), can cause diarrhea and vomiting.” If the detergent were to “find its way into the lungs,” it could “cause breathing difficulties.” USA Today notes that last year, “poison control centers received reports of more than 10,500 exposures to highly concentrated packed of laundry detergent by children five and younger.” Teenagers or “adults who eat or even bite into the pods could also experience symptoms.”

Introducing the CDC Mobile App for Kids

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, BAM! Body and Mind, offers kids information to make healthy lifestyle choices—focusing on the body, diseases, food and nutrition, physical activity, safety, and stress. BAM! serves as a classroom aide for teachers providing them with interactive and fun activities for students that are linked to national education standards. The BAM! site features games and quizzes that are both educational and entertaining. Designed for tweens aged 9 to 12 years old.