SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Health experts are calling this year’s flu season one of the most severe in recent years.
“It is widespread,” said Adrienne Byrne, Sedgwick County Division of Health director. “Not an epidemic, but it is widespread across the country.”
The Centers for Disease Control reported 30 child deaths as of January 13.
Byrne said many are catching the flu in Sedgwick County, and schools are reporting a higher number of flu-related illnesses than in years past.
According to health experts, the country is seeing more of the H3N2 flu strain, which is known to cause more hospitalizations and deaths.
Officials recently reported that the flu vaccine isn’t as effective against the H3N2 strain.
However, Byrne said it’s still important to get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already — especially because the end of January and beginning of February are considered the peak of flu season.
“We still have time and it could go into March and April,” she said.
Byrne added that the flu shot provides coverage from other strains.
Health experts said it’s important to take other steps to protect yourself from catching the illness.
“It’s more through air droplets or spittle, so it comes through coughing and sneezing,” said Byrne. “So just by talking with someone, unless there’s a lot of droplets occurring, it is through coughing and sneezing, though it is highly contagious.”
If you do catch the flu, Byrne recommended calling your doctor for advice and not going to the hospital.
The Sedgwick County Health Department still offers flu vaccinations. More information can be found on their website.