A lot of people across the U.S. may have to miss out on certain holiday traditions because they are sick this year. While COVID is certainly still spreading, so are other respiratory illness, including the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 13% of people who were tested for the flu had positive results in the last week. That continues an upward trend from previous weeks.
The southern U.S. currently appears to be the hardest hit this flu season. South Carolina and Louisiana have reported the highest levels of respiratory illnesses, including flu. Alabama, New Mexico and New York are also reporting very high levels, but just below the amounts seen in Louisiana and South Carolina.
People are encouraged to protect themselves from the flu by getting the annual vaccine. It's recommended for those six months and older.
For those who plan to get their flu vaccine right before Christmas or New Year's, it may not protect them during those celebrations. Health officials say it usually takes about two weeks to become effective. However, the flu season is expected go through March so health officials say it's still worth getting.
If you do get sick, the CDC has guidance to help prevent the spread of the virus. It recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hour after your fever is gone, unless you are seeking medical care or other necessities. If you have to be around others, the CDC says masking can help prevent spreading the virus, as can improving air quality by opening windows and disinfecting surfaces.
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