Influenza take over is still among us, only this time around it’s the B strain taking the lead. Although reports show that the first week of the new year didn’t show high numbers of flu cases, there’s no cause for celebration. This drop in confirmed cases still leaves us at a higher amount than last year’s worst count. With the holidays, it’s less likely people report their illnesses. Further, children were not in school in the past weeks to infect one another. With Influenza B showing up more than the typical A virus, this season is one of the worst on record. If you are not familiar with the different strains of the virus, here is a brief overview.
The Influenza Take Over
Flu activity started early this season, with cases being reported as early as July. We are used to the first cases popping up in October and continuing until mid-March. The majority of cases are hitting our most vulnerable patients: children. The B virus is notorious for causing complications in children and young adults, whereas its counterpart A affects people 65 and older. Most recent reports are showing 32 children have already died this season from this season’s flu. Unfortunately, with the ever-changing viruses, health officials must choose the strain to target months in advance. It’s hard to know at that stage what strains are circulating, so officials must base it off patterns from previous years.
Did You Know?
Typically, the vaccines protect against 2 A strains and 2 B strains, with an effectiveness of 60%. However, the vaccine only aims to keep us from being sick enough to see a doctor. Over half of the pediatric deaths this season stem from Influenza B strains. The only time more children have died from the flu was the 2009-’10 swine flu. Even with these numbers, it’s hard to tell which flu seasons are actually worse than others because the duration varies. Medical experts are still trying to get a grip on vaccines to keep the flu from causing so many fatalities each year. These experts recommend that everyone get a flu vaccine starting at age 6 months. Once vaccinated, it takes the body about 2 weeks to produce full immune responses.
Avoid the Flu
Wash your hands regularly.
Maintain a balanced diet.
Get plenty of sleep each day.
Keep your distance from anyone who may be infected.
You can get vaccinated at your family doctor’s office, or at most local pharmacies. With insurance, your flu shot is normally free! If you need insurance advice, CALL US!
1-844-410-1320 or request an agent here.
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