Chills, fever, achy arms and legs, coughing, sneezing… you may have the flu!! But, how could this have happened after you made sure to get the flu shot this year? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an unusual strain of the flu virus is hitting harder than expected this year, particularly among children. So, unfortunately, even if you had the flu shot, you could get infected with a strain that is not covered by the vaccine.
According to Louise Weadock, MPH, RN, founder and CEO of ACCESS Nursing Services, “This year’s flu vaccine has been less effective than in years past because the Type B strain has been more prevalent than Type A.”
She explains that influenza types A and B are the two most common strains, accounting for the vast majority of flu viruses. Type A accounts for three-fourths of all confirmed flu cases and type B is less common, showing up mostly late in the season. “This year’s strong showing of Type B may be causing the increased number of flu cases,” she added.
Weadock says that this situation has made it very possible for a person to get sick twice this flu season. The CDC reports that nearly 10,000 people have died from flu-related illnesses so far, with 180,000 hospitalizations. In New York alone there have been over 72,000 flu cases, with Type B dominating the cases.
As with every flu season the groups at the greatest risk include older adults, young children, pregnant women and individuals with chronic medical conditions. Some symptoms to look out for with all strains of the flu include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, headaches and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea.
If you do come down with the flu:
- Try to limit your contact with others.
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw it away.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when water is not available.
- Keep germs at bay, don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose.
- Disinfect all surfaces that you may have touched. If prescribed take your flu antiviral drugs.
For more information on how you can protect yourself this flu season and all year long visit https://www.accessnursing.com/.