I'm Dr. Ryan Stanton and its time to find out what's going around this week.
Unless you have been in a cave, under a rock, or both, you know the flu has hit us hard throughout February. The emergency rooms have been full of patients with various manifestations of flu A.
The common stain thus far has been the seasonal H3N2 which is in the vaccine this year and the CDC is reporting about 48% protection. This may not sound great, but it's about average for a pretty good match year and means in cuts the risk of getting the flu in half and I have noted that folks that have gotten the flu and have had the vaccine tend to not be as severe and resolves faster.
What we are seeing now is the transition. It was very similar to a couple of years ago where we had a big flu A spike and then another spike of flu B. The last couple of weeks I have started seeing the transition in the emergency department with more cases of Flu B.
The symptoms are very similar and it's not unusual for people to end up getting both, especially those that haven't gotten the vaccine. The good news is that the predominant strain of both are in this year's vaccine. The key is that you need to get that vaccine. I saw a very sick baby recently that got the flu from a family member that had not gotten the vaccine.
Not only will the vaccine decrease our risk, but it protects those around us that are higher risk. Also, if you get sick, try to protect others by taking some time away from work or school to rest and recuperate. Wash your hands and be liberal with cleaning surfaces and areas where germs like to hang out...like here...or other commonly handled surfaces.