WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The month of January is usually thought to be peak season for influenza, but an expert says with numbers increasing week to week, the season has not peaked yet.
Dr. Maggie Hagan, infectious disease specialist for Ascension Via Christi, says she is seeing more cases of influenza B in children this year, but more adults are being hospitalized with influenza A. Clinically, the diseases present the same, but the lab at the hospital can confirm the difference.
“About 55,000 people have been hospitalized, close to 3,000 people have died already this year, and the number of deaths in children is currently at 27 which is higher than what we would normally see at this point in the season. All of those things may lead us to believe when it’s all analyzed, a more severe flu season than the average,” Dr. Hagan said.
Some encouraging news is it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine according to Dr. Hagan. She’s often asked if this year’s vaccination is a good match for the strains of flu being seen.
“What we do know so far is the primary strain of A that’s circulating are the strains that are included in the vaccine so we are somewhat optimistic that the vaccine will be a good match when all is said and done and we look back on this flu season,” Dr. Hagan said.
Beyond typical precautions, like handwashing, Dr. Hagan says to stay home if you have the flu due to how easy it can be spread.
Babies under six months and the elderly can be especially susceptible.
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