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Thursday's Wake Up Call! Flu begins to spread across the U.S.
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Eri Hashimoto/GHNS
Feb. 16, 2012 12:01 a.m.

A mild winter has kept the spread of influenza at bay, with fewer people cooped up inside spreading the contagion. But influenza is on the rise across the U.S., and health officials say it's not too late to get a vaccination - but you should hurry.

From The Weather Channel: "America is experiencing the slowest start to flu season in three decades, according to a new government report. But if you thought you were going to escape the year without the flu, you may be wrong. The national flu map is beginning to light up like a Christmas tree. ... 'This is the mildest cold and flu season that I've seen in the last few years, particularly flu,' " says Dr. Cliff Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York.

And from the Los Angeles Times: "In general, Americans have had a mild flu season this year.  But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its weekly FluView Surveillance Report that, for the first time this season, more than 10% of respiratory specimens collected in the U.S. tested positive for the flu -- 10.5%, versus 7.6% the prior week.  According to the CDC, surpassing 10% is considered an indication that 'flu season is beginning.' "

Some ideas:

  • Use the CDC's flu vaccine finder to publish a list and online map of all local vaccine clinics.

  • Talk with local school nurses and principals. How has attendance been this year compared to past? Are they beginning to see signs of the flu in their schools? What are their guidelines for keep children at home?

  • Talk with local hospitals and medical practices. Are they seeing an increase?

  • Run a sidebar using CDC guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the flu.



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