The Second Wave- a quick look at what the new increase in the B-strain of Flu means for you this season
Cases of flu nationwide are on a downturn, though we are still well above the number of cases that would be typical for this time of year. Hospitalizations last week continued to go up with people that had already been exposed and become ill.
- However, most of the lab samples now are showing a different flu bug.
- Up until now, this season’s flu cases have been mostly from H3N2 (an A-strain virus).
- Now, B-strain viruses are showing up much more often in the samples.
What does this mean for you?
- You can be infected with the flu twice in one season-Even if you already had the flu this season, if you were infected with the H3N2 virus, you could still become infected with one of the B-strain viruses (and visa-versa).
- The flu vaccines do have coverage against B virus (although the ‘quadrivalent’ vaccine has coverage against the specific B-stain that is more prevalent right now).
The basic steps to reduce your chances of getting infected or of infecting others are still the same and simple: wash your hands often, get the flu vaccine to help reduce your risk of serious illness, cover your cough, and stay keep sick family members home from school/work/etc. If you get the flu, get a prescription for Tamiflu to help reduce how sick you get and for how long.
Hopefully, the season will end. We all want it to just end. In the meantime, here’s hoping you stay healthy!