Influenza has continually been a healthcare problem across the United States. The flu virus itself can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours, which is why so many people in offices and homes are susceptible to the virus if just one person comes down with the flu.
Since winter is finally here and the cold weather is going to cause problems for the next few months, many people are expecting that the flu virus will be a risk at some point. According to CBS Chicago, however, so far this winter that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Schools are some of the most flu-invested areas in the U.S., a 2002 National Center for Education Statistics study shows that roughly 66% of all schools had at least one unacceptable physical or structural condition related to cleanliness.
Doctors have been seeing an increase in other medical issues like severe coughing and upper respiratory colds, but influenza has taken a back seat this winter, especially in the United States.
“Only in Puerto Rico there’s some higher activity right now,” said Dr. Nadia Qureshi, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Loyola Medicine. “Atlanta was the only other place I saw there was some moderate activity. But for the majority of the other states, it’s been lower than usual for this time of the year.”
RTE confirms that influenza levels have been significantly lower this winter, globally, but there have been signs of an increase over the next few months.
The December 4 Health Protection Surveillance Centre states that influenza has only recently started increasing while respiratory syncytial virus remains at high levels.
The Irish Examiner reports that it’s important to realize that no two immune systems are the same, and this plays a major role in contracting the flu.
“There are huge differences in each individual’s ability to respond to either bugs or the environment or stress,” said Cliona O’Farrelly, professor of comparative immunology at Trinity College in Dublin. “Because of that our immune systems react very differently and so we ourselves end up in different states of health or disease.”
It’s important for everyone to properly wash their hands, get as much rest as possible, and stay away from others if they are not feeing well.