By Steve Neavling
A severe strain of the flu is sweeping across Michigan at an alarming rate, overwhelming emergency rooms, prompting some hospitals to ban children from visiting patients and leading to a shortage of IV bags.
The flu is now widespread in all states but Hawaii, and its impact has been more devastating than usual. Since October, at least 20 children have died of the flu across the U.S., and 7% of senior deaths in December were caused by the flu.
Doctors are urging people nationwide, especially the oldest and youngest residents, to get vaccinated, even though inoculation is only about 10%-30% effective this year.
Hospitals in metro Detroit are brimming with flu patients. To avoid spreading the virulent strain, Beaumont Heath System banned children under 13 from visiting any of its eight major hospitals in metro Detroit.
Hospitals across the region also are running out of IV bags use to hydrant patients.
The flu has been identified as the H3N3, one of the most severe flu strains, especially for children and people over 65.