influenza 4

Are you feeling under the weather? Is your fever running higher than 38°C (100.4°F)? Are you living in or around Tokyo? If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then there’s a good chance you have the flu! After the results of a weekly influenza check came in for the week of December 22 to 28, it seems that epidemic levels of the virus have reached Japan’s capital city.

Grab your mask and water for gargling; it’s only predicted to get more serious!

(We immediately interrupt this article with the reminder that gargling has not been proven to assist in the prevention of influenza. Still, if it helps Japanese people feel a bit better then who are we to judge!)

On January 7, an epidemic warning report was issued for the Tokyo ward stating the number of patients with influenza surged between December 22 and December 28 and it is predicted to continue increasing there and the rest of the country. Compared with the week before, more than 1.5 times as many people were reported to have the flu.

Cases of influenza from 2010. The scary red line, that’s this year.

influenza 1

Elementary, junior and senior high schools, also contributed data to the report. They found that when comparing the statistics from September to December last year, only 52 classes were cancelled during that period whereas 835 classes have been cancelled this year. In other words, 16 times the number of classes were sent home due to influenza this year.

Also, many older people are catching it.

influenza 2

Chiba, Iwate, Miyagi, Aichi and Okinawa are fighting off their own high number of influenza cases and are expected to release their own epidemic alerts soon.

For those RocketNews24 readers living in these areas, be sure to practice good health habits. Wash your hands, take plenty of fluids, get a flu shot, cover your coughs and sneezes, and if you are feeling ill, do be so good as to stay home to prevent spreading your lurgy to others. Who wants to go outside into the cold anyway? Fire up that kotatsu, grab a book and wait out the flu season!

Source: Net Lab, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Images: Flickr (Stéfan), Tokyo Metropolitan Government