Like Walgreens, CDC data suggests flu season has passed its peak

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Like Walgreens, CDC data suggests flu season has passed its peak

By Michael Johnsen - 02/16/2018
Finally, there is an indicator that the nation may be on the back end of the bell curve representing this year's flu season. For the week ended Feb. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported influenza-like activity crested at 7.7% nationwide, which means this year is the most prevalent season since at least 2003/2004 when illness rates reached 7.6%.

On Friday, CDC reported ILI rates dropped to 7.5% for the week ended Feb. 10.

On the CDC heat map, this year's flu season still appears to be raging. And it is, though Colorado, Florida, Oregon and Wisconsin each went from the highest level of ILI activity to one shade of orange below as a potential indicator that this season may be on its downswing.

Earlier this week, Walgreens similarly published a flu heat map that indicated the end of the flu season may be in sight.

Nonetheless, the CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks and there is an increasing proportion of influenza B and H1N1 viruses being detected.

Early estimates show that flu vaccine has reduced risk of having to go to the doctor due to flu by 36% overall so far this season and that flu vaccine is offering substantial protection against H1N1 flu as well as moderate protection against flu B viruses. In addition, in the context of widespread influenza activity, CDC is reminding clinicians and the public about the importance of prompt treatment with antiviral medications in people who are severely ill and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications who develop flu symptoms.

According to an IRI evaluation of this year's cough/cold season released earlier this month, this year's plethora of sniffles, sneezes, aches and pains has significantly driven sales of over-the-counter cough, cold and flu remedies. For the four weeks ended Jan. 14, sales of cough syrups were up 39.9% nationwide; sales of cough-cold liquid formulations were up 35.1%; and sales of cough-cold tablets were up 26.8%.