NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We’re right in the middle of flu season, and the number of people infected is continuing to grow.
For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control is releasing flu statistics in real-time instead of at the end of the year.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported, we’re not even into the peak of the flu season and millions of people have already come down with the virus. New data from the CDC shows between six and seven million people have been sickened so far, up to half of them saw a doctor and around 84,000 of them have been hospitalized.
“These numbers are a reminder that flu can cause severe illnesses and hospitalizations, if you haven’t been vaccinated yet we still expect several more weeks of flu activity so get your vaccine now,” Dr. Alicia Fry, head of the CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, said.
While flu season started out slowly, activity is now widespread in 30 states — especially in New York and New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been sick, experts say it’s critical to disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home to minimize the chance of spreading the virus.
Frequent hand washing is the first step, but then it’s pivotal to clean commonly touched areas such as sinks, fridge handles, or doorknobs says Dr. Daniel Allen from the Cleveland Clinic. Bleach-based cleaners are best because they can kill even the toughest viruses and bacteria, and it’s easy to make a solution at home.
“The bleach shouldn’t be more than six months old, two ounces of bleach in about a quart of water and you want to make it up the day that you use it, if it sits it will become much less effective,” Allen said.
Experts say don’t forget your bedding, which needs to be washed in hot water and high heat in the dryer.
Once you disinfect your home after someone is sick, take off the clothes you cleaned in and wash them before scrubbing your hands thoroughly.
A note of caution: bleach solutions can be toxic, so it’s imperative you wear gloves and eye protection while cleaning.