The influenza season typically peaks in the months of January and February, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the 1982-1983 flu season. The 2012-13 season began in earnest a few weeks earlier in this current season; perhaps Oklahoma's current decrease in newly reported cases in mid-February demonstrates that continued trend of the peak of the flu season occurring within so many days/weeks after the onset for that year.
Oklahoma Influenza Statistics for Feb. 3 through Feb. 9
The Oklahoma State Department of Health , OSDH, releases updated statistics about influenza in the state each Thursday during the flu season. The most recent data available is for the one-week period ending Feb. 9.
Since the 2012-13 flu season began Sept. 30, 862 people have been hospitalized in Oklahoma with influenza; 25 people have died. People age 65 and older have represented the largest single age group to be hospitalized with influenza at 442 of the 862 total hospitalizations. Those age 65 and older also represented the largest single age group to die from complications of the flu, representing 20 of the 25 total deaths. Two people died from flu complications in this latest reported week ,one each from Nowata and Washington counties.
An OSDH graph shows that patient visits for influenza-like illnesses to monitored clinicians have continued to decline since the third week of January. Another graph shows that the actual number of positive tests for influenza have declined in the last two weeks.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you are sick with a cold or the flu, since both have respiratory signs and symptoms. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases offered these comparisons:
* Influenza : Sudden onset; usually a fever that lasts three to four days; headache; general aches and pains, often severe; exhaustion at the beginning of illness, followed by weakness and fatigue that can last three to four weeks; may sometimes have stuffy nose, sneezing and/or sore throat.
* Cold : Gradual onset; rarely a fever; slight general aches and pains; sometimes fatigue and weakness; never exhaustion; often stuffy nose and sore throat and may be sneezing.
The possible complications of these two viral illnesses differ in severity. Complications from having the common cold may be middle ear infection, sinus congestion and/or asthma. Complications from seasonal influenza may be bronchitis, pneumonia, worsening of already existing chronic conditions and can be life-threatening.
Contagious Period of Seasonal Flu
The CDC explained that a healthy person can spread the seasonal flu to other people for one day before flu symptoms are even noticed and up to five to seven days after symptoms have begun. Young children and people with compromised immune systems may remain contagious for a longer period of time.
Considering this timeline for the ability to infect others with the flu, if you become ill with the flu, avoid unnecessary contact with others until the contagious period has passed.