Flu season is nothing to sneeze at

08 December, 2017, 01:41 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Flu season is here

Reported cases of influenza and flulike illnesses in Brazos County are about double the number seen this time a year ago, but that might not necessarily spell a bad flu season.

The flu is making it way northward from the southern United States, where it is widespread, she said. Flu reporting is largely voluntary and often inconsistent, Bennett said, so the weekly surveillance reports are "just a snapshot" that, examined over time, reveal seasonal trends.

Though the accuracy and effectiveness of each year's vaccine varies, this year's seems on track to provide good protection against the Influenza A strains now predominating, health officials say.

"We're seeing earlier cases, and the predominant strain is H3N2, which is different from prior seasons", he adds.

Getting the flu vaccine not only protects yourself, but the people around you as well. It recommends everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, and experts recommend that people be vaccinated annually to cover new strains. "So you put those two things together and it's reasonable to expect we're going to have a more severe flu season than usual".

Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu, but it takes up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Don't underestimate how sick flu can make you, Mills cautioned.


"It hits you like a freight train", she said.

Matthew Maurer, Epidemiologist, says there are many various strains of the flu virus. During the last week of November, the vast majority — 80 percent — of lab-confirmed influenza tests in the US were H3N2 viruses, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In B.C., for instance, low levels of H3N2 infection have been confirmed since the beginning of the season in late August, but a strain known as B/Yamagata has also been found circulating within the population. We don't know because once you get the flu it decreases your immune system. Others can try home rest first, and all residents should be diligent about preventing the spread of germs.

For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

This year's shot is the same as the one used in 2016-17, containing components for three major strains: A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B/Victoria, based on a recommendation by the World Health Organization made in February.

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