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Experts issue warning in the face of ‘severe’ flu season; 3 deaths reported in Snohomish Co.

FluSEATTLE — Experts are already calling winter 2012-13 one of the worst influenza seasons in a decade. And the peak is nowhere in sight.

Dr. Dhirendra Kumar, from Doctors Express Urgent Care in Seattle, has treated a number of patients with the flu this year. He said the flu has been blamed for three deaths in Washington state and close to 20 children’s deaths across the country.

“We are not at the peak yet,” Kumar said. “I am anticipating there will be a lot of cases and we should prepare right now.”

Kumar worries this could be an especially bad year for the flu. The concern is echoed by officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Thomas Frieden of  the CDC said the flu season is starting earlier than in years past.

“It seems to be starting earlier than most flu seasons and the strain of flu that’s spreading tends to be associated with earlier and more severe flu years,” Frieden said.

Kumar recommended that anyone over the age of six months receive a vaccine for the flu. But a vaccine doesn’t mean complete protection, Kumar said.

“Somehow, interestingly, we have seen about six or seven patients that had the vaccine but they got the flu,” Kumar said.

The vaccine prevents some flu strains but not all of them, officials said. No matter the strain, the vaccine still fights the virus.

“One patient without the flu vaccine may get better in a week, two or sometimes more than two weeks,” Kumar said. “But if you have flu vaccine, perhaps you will get better a little bit early.”

Those with the flu, or flu-like symptoms, are urged to help stop the spread of the virus.

“Be careful,” Kumar said. “If you know you have the flu, try to avoid the spread. Don’t go to places, community gathering, church or school. They should be at home and try not to infect other people.”

Snohomish Health District reported that three people had died in late December from flu complications — a Bothell woman in her 40s, an Everett woman in her 80s and an Edmonds woman in her 80s. Each was reported to also have other underlying medical conditions.

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8 comments

  • Michael Peterson

    I got the flu after a christmas party the weekend before christmas. I had all of the typical symptoms of the flu, but it seems to be going on longer then normal. I am in week three and still have the suffy runny nose and chest congestion. I even had the flu shot over a month before I even had noticed the first symptoms of the flu. I thought I was going to caugh up a lung durring this flu season compared to previous flu's that I had before.
    I do have to say, do not take this years flu season like any other. If you feel getting sick, do somethng to lessen the length of the flu if you can. Go see your doctor and make sure you stay away from younger children.

  • seattlekungfoolery

    Seems like this statement hits it on the head, “But if you have flu vaccine, perhaps you will get better a little bit early.” And they are easy to get — so go get one for all of us please!

    I work for Carena Medical Providers here in Seattle and we even some of my co-workers have gotten the flu after getting a flu shot – but the vaccine did limit the severity and duration (saving 2 days of being really sick is a pretty big deal).

    We also just launched something that might help Puget Sound folks get better faster (or at least get started on flu treatment). http://www.CareSimple.com is 24/7 on-demand healthcare via phone and secure webcam. We can prescribe tamiflu over the phone (if appropriate). We are in beta right now, so it's only $10.

  • Patrick Bennett

    I started a Facebook page on this called Canadian flu 2013. Check it out and start posting about your symptoms and duration as this might help others understand whether they have to seek medical help or just stay at home in bed.

  • Cooper Sawyer

    Henry the Hand can help you protect yourself from the Flu and Flu-like symptoms. All you have to do is “Do not touch the T Zone” and follow his 4 Principles of Hand Awareness, Remember “only you can prevent the flu” find more information at http://www.henrythehand.com


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