Even though we’re celebrating spring and the end of flu season, the number of cases of influenza B is actually on the rise, medical professionals say. Most of the severe cases of flu we saw this season were a strain of influenza A, according to the CDC, but people are more recently being diagnosed with influenza B.
“It’s often the case where influenza A starts off the flu season, and then as the season goes on, influenza B becomes more important,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, an expert in infectious diseases at UC Davis Health. “Influenza A caused almost all the influenza starting at the beginning of this season in 2017, and then once 2018 started, influenza B started causing a greater proportion of illnesses.”
Flu season facts
Influenza B is typically not as severe as influenza A, but it can impact the health of young children more seriously. Children are 20 percent more likely to die from influenza B than from the A strains.
In fact, five pediatric deaths were reported during the week ending March 11, which brings the national total of flu-related deaths to 133. Seventeen states reported widespread flu outbreaks to the CDC. Nearly 250,000 people tested positive for the flu during this season. Almost 27,000 people were hospitalized due to the influenza A virus. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][source]
Avoiding the flu
The best way to avoid the flu is to practice good health habits.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. And if you are sick, avoid others to prevent spreading your illness to others. Stay home from work, school, or running errands.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing to prevent germs from spreading.
- Wash your hands often to protect you from germs. Use soap and water. If those aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth—germs are spread when a person touches something contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wipe down and disinfect surfaces at home, school, and work, especially when people are sick.
- Get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
It’s also not too late to get a flu shot. Even if you’ve already had the flu this year, you may want to consider getting the vaccine, as it’s possible to become infected by multiple strains in one season. Anti-viral medications like Tamiflu are effective in minimizing flu symptoms, but they should be taken within 48 hours of onset of symptoms.
The CDC also advises that people with flu-like symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid possible severe or deadly complications.
At Crandall & Pera Law, our medical malpractice attorneys are here to be your voice when doctors fail in their required standard of care, for you or for a family member. If you need a caring yet aggressive legal representative, please call our Ohio office at 877-686-8879, or in Kentucky at 877-651-7764. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.