The Flu Report: 12/24/14 December 24, 2014 By Cait Hartwyk Leave a Comment Image courtesy of flunearyou.org. Click here to view the interactive map. As the holiday season comes to an end, we reach the middle of the flu season. Although the speed of influenza spread has declined, there is still significant flu activity, and, by some estimates, flu levels have now become severe in the US. Overview: According to the Centers for Disease Control, 18 states have at least moderate influenza spread being reported, predominantly in the South and Midwest, with 29 states seeing a widespread presence of the virus. Influenza A is still the predominant strain that is circulating in the population, and variant strains are still causing problems even for those that have been immunized. Happily, though, the CDC has yet to report a case of drug-resistant influenza, meaning that treating an infection will be easier than it otherwise could be. Flu-related hospital activity seems to be at or below the average for this time of year. Whether this correlates to a lighter sickness when the flu is contracted is still unknown. By the Numbers: In the United States, the CDC has reported: Flu Cases (Laboratory Confirmed) – 5,200 (25.9% of specimens tested) Influenza A – 5,006 (96.3%) Influenza B – 194 (3.7%) Flu-related Deaths (Percentage) – 6.0% (0.7% below epidemic threshold) NOTE: Flu cases, as referenced above, are confirmed cases in people who have gone to see medical professionals. Percentage estimates, referenced in the “Overview” section, include these documented cases from medical professionals but also a variety of other self-reported metrics. Around the World: Influenza spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere is following the same basic pattern as currently exists in the United States. Eastern Europe and Japan have a high level of severity according to Google Flu Trends, and Western Europe has continued to worsen with many nations at or nearing a moderate level of infectivity. Staying Healthy: Our tip for this week: With the hustle and bustle of the holidays now upon us, try as best you can to get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet to help keep your body healthy and functioning well. At this time of year, it is very easy to get less sleep due to all of the commitments and eat less than healthy foods. However, unhealthy behaviors can stress your body and make it more susceptible to illness and have a more difficult time overcoming sickness. Try to maintain a healthy schedule and diet in order to keep having a happy and healthy holiday season. For additional help, contact a Passport Health flu professional at 1-888-499-PASS (7277) and we’ll help you schedule your flu vaccination today. The Flu Report is a weekly blog post designed to give updates on the spread of influenza throughout the year. It is posted every Wednesday and focuses on regional outbreaks, global spread and ways to avoid infection.