CDC reports widespread influenza outbreaks in 46 states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported January 9, 2015, that influenza is widespread in 46 states, with Alaska, Arizona, and California dealing with regional outbreaks and Hawaii observing local outbreaks.

“This year, the flu has hit early and it has hit hard. And it’s likely to continue for about another month or so before it really tapers off”, explained Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. “The best way to protect yourself against the flu is with a flu shot. In fact, even though the flu shot is far from perfect, it’s by far the best tool we have to protect against the flu.”

The CDC defines the flu as a contagious viral infection that mostly affects the respiratory system. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills aches, and fatigue. Symptoms can also include vomiting and diarrhea.

To help reduce the spread of influenza in the workplace, the CDC recommends staying home when sick and proper hand and respiratory hygiene, including:

  • Frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers
  • Using a tissue to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and promptly throwing the used tissue away
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

The CDC also recommends educating workers on the signs and symptoms of influenza and encouraging vaccination.

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