Reported Influenza Cases Reach H1N1 Pandemic Level

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that Influenza cases in Arizona have surged by nearly 700 percent over last season and is approaching levels reported during the H1N1 pandemic nine years ago.

The latest data shows the number of influenza cases reported this season is at the level of the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic. There have been 19,279 cases of influenza reported this season, with 1,454 reported between January 21 and 27. Compared to the last year’s influenza season, there were 2,175 total cases and 380 weekly cases reported for the same time period. Arizona had 19,906 influenza cases reported during the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic.

People with mild symptoms or at lower risk from complications from influenza should stay home and rest or call their healthcare provider if they have concerns. However, if you’re at high risk or have symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, confusion, persistent vomiting, cannot drink fluids, or have flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever or worse cough, seek emergency medical care immediately.

If you haven’t been vaccinated, protect yourself by getting your flu shot today. Just like putting on your seat belt, getting vaccinated can save you a trip to the hospital. If you or your children are sick with influenza, take precautions like staying home when you’re sick and covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself from illness by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face.

People at high risk of serious complications from influenza are:

  • Children younger than five years old
  • Adults aged 65 and older
  • People with chronic disease, especially heart and lung disease
  • People with immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV infection
  • Women who are pregnant or postpartum (within two weeks after delivery)
  • People younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • People with extreme obesity
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities

Most healthcare providers offer flu shots. They’re also available at some pharmacies and at the county health department. More information about the flu can be obtained from the Center for Disease Control.