The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
Farmers fight Hurricane Beryl
Aggies across South Texas left reeling in wake of unexpectedly dangerous storm
J. M. Wise, News Reporter • July 20, 2024
Texas A&M LB Taurean York (21) speaks during the 2024 SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
A&M predicted to finish ninth in SEC football media poll, three Aggies earn preseason honors
Luke White, Sports Editor • July 19, 2024

Texas A&M football is expected to finish in the middle of the pack in the conference this season, per the SEC football preseason media poll...

Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
Lyle Lovett, other past students remember Bob Rogers
Shalina SabihJuly 15, 2024

In his various positions, Professor Emeritus Bob Rogers laid down the stepping stones that student journalists at Texas A&M walk today, carving...

Writer Braxton Dore with the six Mochinut donuts he sampled from the restaurant. The writing on the box lid reads, More than just a donut, always near you.
Review: Mochinut's donuts are ideal for any dessert fan
Braxton Dore'July 22, 2024

The popular Japanese mochi and donut fusion restaurant, Mochinut, arrived in College Station in February 2024. The chain — founded in California...

Fighting the flu

A+lab+technician+runs+tests+for+patients.
Photo by Photo by Carlos Romero

A lab technician runs tests for patients.

According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza has reached epidemic status in the United States.
With the exception of Hawaii and the District of Columbia, all U.S. states and regions are reporting elevated levels of the flu and widespread outbreaks.
According to the CDC, this year’s flu season began earlier than anticipated and has most likely reached the peak of its danger. However, with more than two dozen pediatric deaths reported since October, many regions have declared a state of emergency.
“What we’re seeing this year is the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now,” said CDC influenza expert Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan in an interview on Good Morning America on Jan. 12. “That’s about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking, so lots of cases happening, in lots of states all at the same time.”
The 69-hour shutdown of the federal government had a direct impact on the operations of the CDC, since it is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who was at the CDC’s helm during the 2013 government shutdown, told NPR on Jan. 21 that the shutdown could mean less preparedness and slower response rates to flu complications across the country.
“It may mean that there’s less rapid response to changes in the virus, less tracking of where it’s going,” Frieden said. “Doctors in different areas would be less prepared to provide rapid treatment. And if it continues to hit hard or hits harder, more difficulty in responding and less of an understanding of what’s happening.”
In an emergency health advisory released on Dec. 27, 2017, the CDC warned of increased influenza activity associated with the particularly deadly flu strain A(H3N2).
“In the past, A(H3N2) virus-predominant influenza seasons have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups,” the CDC wrote. “In addition, influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) in general has been lower against A(H3N2) viruses.”
This year’s flu vaccine does include H3N2 and is expected to be relatively effective against the strain, said Dr. Tiffany Skaggs, chief of medical staff at Texas A&M Student Health Services. In addition, antiviral medications are between 70 and 90 percent effective against the flu if started within 48 hours from exposure.
“It takes about two weeks to get immunity after a flu shot,” Skaggs said. “But it’s not too late to get one as flu season lasts until March.”
In Texas alone, the number of flu-related deaths has more than doubled to 2,355 from 1,155 just two weeks ago, according to the Houston Chronicle. This figure includes four pediatric deaths, which brings the national tally to 30 this flu season.
To prevent the flu, Student Health Services recommends taking some basic preventative measures such as staying home from class when contagious.
“In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions such as staying away from sick people and washing your hands helps to protect you against the flu,” Skaggs said. “There are prescription antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, that help to reduce symptoms by about one day.”

According to research conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza has reached epidemic status in the United States.
 

With the exception of Hawaii and the District of Columbia, all U.S. states and regions are reporting elevated levels of the flu and widespread outbreaks.
 

According to the CDC, this year’s flu season began earlier than anticipated and has most likely reached the peak of its danger. However, with more than two dozen pediatric deaths reported since October, many regions have declared a state of emergency.
 

Story continues below advertisement

“What we’re seeing this year is the influenza season started earlier and seems to be peaking right about now,” said CDC influenza expert Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan in an interview on Good Morning America on Jan. 12. “That’s about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking, so lots of cases happening, in lots of states all at the same time.”

The 69-hour shutdown of the federal government had a direct impact on the operations of the CDC, since it is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who was at the CDC’s helm during the 2013 government shutdown, told NPR on Jan. 21 that the shutdown could mean less preparedness and slower response rates to flu complications across the country.
 

“It may mean that there’s less rapid response to changes in the virus, less tracking of where it’s going,” Frieden said. “Doctors in different areas would be less prepared to provide rapid treatment. And if it continues to hit hard or hits harder, more difficulty in responding and less of an understanding of what’s happening.”
 

In an emergency health advisory released on Dec. 27, 2017, the CDC warned of increased influenza activity associated with the particularly deadly flu strain A(H3N2).
 

“In the past, A(H3N2) virus-predominant influenza seasons have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups,” the CDC wrote. “In addition, influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) in general has been lower against A(H3N2) viruses.”
 

This year’s flu vaccine does include H3N2 and is expected to be relatively effective against the strain, said Dr. Tiffany Skaggs, chief of medical staff at Texas A&M Student Health Services. In addition, antiviral medications are between 70 and 90 percent effective against the flu if started within 48 hours from exposure.
 

“It takes about two weeks to get immunity after a flu shot,” Skaggs said. “But it’s not too late to get one as flu season lasts until March.”
 

In Texas alone, the number of flu-related deaths has more than doubled to 2,355 from 1,155 just two weeks ago, according to the Houston Chronicle. This figure includes four pediatric deaths, which brings the national tally to 30 this flu season.
 

To prevent the flu, Student Health Services recommends taking some basic preventative measures such as staying home from class when contagious.
 

“In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions such as staying away from sick people and washing your hands helps to protect you against the flu,” Skaggs said. “There are prescription antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, that help to reduce symptoms by about one day.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *