Arizona Has the Highest Rate of Influenza – What to Know and How to Prevent It

One would think that, when it comes to influenza and general cold symptoms such as congestion and coughing, that it would be incredibly prevalent in cold and wet climates.  While there is influenza everywhere, the state with the highest incidence of influenza isn’t somewhere on the East Coast or in the Pacific Northwest. When it comes to cases on influenza, Arizona is leading the way.  AZCentral elaborates on Arizona’s influenza problem, “Arizona had 1,600 cases of flu reported in the past week and currently has the highest level of influenzalike activity in the country, according to state and federal health agencies. The 1,600 number was particularly high, said Jessica Rigler, bureau chief of epidemiology and disease control for the Arizona Department of Health Services…While flu is generally associated with cold, wet weather, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention ranked Arizona with the highest level of influenza-like activity in the country.” Nobody wants to be the “leader” in influenza cases but what is more concerning to Arizonans is – why?  Why is the highest rate of influenza in Arizona, how is it being spread, and how can we stop it?

It is important to note that influenza is different than the stomach flu.  Influenza (which is also called the “flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness.  Influenza season typically begins in October and goes through the end of March (though it may last as long as May).  The flu is highly contagious and could be potentially fatal if symptoms worsen significantly or if a medically fragile individual contracts influenza.  There are some simple and easy home remedies that can help diminish influenza symptoms and may even shorten the length of illness.  These remedies include drinking a lot of fluids, consuming healthy meals such as chicken soup/bone broth, getting plenty of rest, taking vitamins, using a humidifier and more.

But, rather than simply fighting the illness once you have it, it is even better to try to prevent getting it in the first place.  The best way to prevent influenza is to get the flu vaccine each year.  The vaccine changes from year to year so it is important to get a new flu shot every year for optimal protection. The flu vaccine is available at your doctor’s office, local clinics, pharmacies, hospitals and more.  It simply is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent influenza.  The CDC explains the importance of getting a flu vaccine each year, “There are many flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common…Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later is OK.”  If you have yet to get a flu vaccination, it is no too late!  Speak to your physician about getting protection from influenza so that you can be your most healthy.