People within 41 states throughout the U.S. are suffering from the worst flu epidemic in a decade per reports from the Centers For Disease Control. Officials report that the onset of influenza A, influenza B, and other strains of the flu season occurred earlier in 2013 than it typically does and is worse than the H1N1 outbreak of 1998. Areas like New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota, have been hardest hit by the outbreak with the numbers of people falling ill reportedly "skyrocketing." In fact, with 18 deaths and over 700 confirmed cases of the flu, Boston health officials declared a flu emergency on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.
Health care providers, hospitals, and physicians are having a difficult time managing the flu epidemic throughout the nation. Overcrowded emergency rooms and hospitals within the U.S. have caused health care providers to turn patients away, urging those unaffected by the flu to get the influenza vaccine. Though the vaccine does not always prevent the illness, it is the recommended "first line of defense" per the Centers for Disease Control.
Those suffering with the symptoms of the flu (fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, cough, etc) have been advised to remain at home for at least 24 hours following fever as well as get influenza antiviral medications like Tamiflu and Relenza.
Health officials and the CDC expect that the flu season will not peak until the end of this month or as late as February as areas within the U.S. and other parts of the world deal with the outbreak. Places overseas, like China, Russia, Canada, and Saudi Arabia are also seeing record numbers of influenza cases this year.