HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - According to the latest flu report from the Centers for Disease Control, 43 of the 50 states are dealing with widespread cases of influenza. Hawaii, on the other hand, is on the other end of the spectrum, as we've seen the lowest level of cases of any state ...so far.
One of the graphics in the report details how dramatically flu hospitalizations spiked in the week ending December 27th for all age groups measured. Those over the age of 65 and under the age of 4 led the way.
"We know in very young children and much older adults, immune systems don't respond well to vaccinations" said State Epidemiologist Sarah Park.
Park says Hawaii's spike usually happens a month or two after the mainland surges. She says experts have tried to pinpoint why, but have only hypotheses to offer.
"You could argue that we're not connected directly with the mainland and because of where we're located and our climate, we get travelers here so it takes time".
What Park and others are sure about, is that prevention is way to defend against widespread cases.
"If we were talking in late January I'd still be saying 'not too late to be vaccinated'"
This year's vaccine may not be as effective as years past because of a strain of flu circulating that wasn't included in the vaccine. Still, there are other lines of defense -like washing your hands frequently, and staying home from work when ill.
"Not a good idea to dope yourself up with Tylenol, Ibuprofen and say 'oh yeah, it controls the fever'. You're still infectious" said Park.
Here's a link to the report.