One of the worst influenza outbreaks in years has been raging across the country with sometimes fatal consequences.
In Oregon, the flu has killed at least three children this season – compared to none in the previous season.
And this week, a virus strain called Influenza A killed 37-year-old Stephanie Shradar and her unborn child. It remained Stephans husband, Lee Shradar, a widower and her two daughters at the age of 5 and 7, without a mother.
Influenza A can be dangerous, but is not an automatic killer centers for disease control and prevention. Here are a few things you should know about the virus.
Influenza is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses. The disease can be mild, but it can also lead to hospitalization and death.
According to CDC, the symptoms generally include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Influenza is not like a typical cold – it can kill. Complications include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections or worsening of other pre-existing conditions.
Influenza is contagious, and anyone can get it, though children, the elderly and people with certain illnesses are at a higher risk. The "flu season" is generally from October to May.
Most scientists believe that flu spreads when parts of the virus fly through the air, while people cough, sneeze or talk. The virus bits end up in the mouth or nose of uninfected humans and get sick.
Influenza can be treated and if symptoms occur, a doctor must be contacted quickly.  Antiviral drugs can be used to treat influenza. If your doctor prescribes this to you, take it.
If you get sick, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours and keeping contact with others to a minimum to reduce the likelihood of infection with others.
Most People You do not need to go to the ER if they get the flu. However, the CDC recommends seeking emergency relief if, among other things, they have shortness of breath, bluish lips or skin, persistent chest pain or muscle pain, dehydration and high fever.
The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine every year to prevent the spread of influenza. Flu vaccines are safe and have been shown to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of complications.
The CDC also recommends the use of general sanitation techniques, such as keeping sick people, covering coughing and sneezing, and regular hand washing. An influenza vaccine is simple.
You can use CDC's Online Flu Ingest Finder and search for providers based on your zip code. Vaccines are also typically available at your pharmacy.
– Gordon R. Friedman