“Though influenza activity typically peaks by February’s end, the flu season isn’t over – and a harsher strain called H3N2 has increased in circulation both nationwide and in Kentucky,” reports Caroline Eggers of the Bowling Green Daily News.
“Some people may think flu season is over, but it is not,” Glynda Chu, spokeswoman for The Medical Center at Bowling Green, told the Daily News in an email. “Many people in our area are suffering with the flu and we encourage everyone to please get a flu shot.”
Among the four types of flu viruses, “influenza A accounts for the majority of cases and is the only strain that is divided into subtypes, which are most commonly H1N1 and H3N2,” Eggers notes. “Although the H1N1 virus has predominated this flu season, the H3N2 virus accounted for nearly half of influenza A detected nationally through the week of Feb. 16. In Kentucky and the Southeast, the H3N2 virus is considered predominant.”
That calls for caution because H3N2 causes more greater number of hospitalizations and deaths in children and the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination even at this point, because the flu season won’t end until May.
“Other methods of protection include frequent hand washing, especially before eating or touching the face, and avoiding touching public surfaces,” Eggers notes. “If you suspect the illness, remain home from work, school or errands to prevent further spread, and consider getting tested at the hospital and starting antiviral medications. But mostly, the best treatment is plenty of rest and drinking lots of water.”