Just when you thought it was safe to venture outside, the CDC brings you right back down to earth. It’s the end of March, so we should be at the tail-end of flu season. This year’s flu has been particularly brutal; it was a perfect storm of ineffective vaccines and a dangerous strain of the virus. Hospitals and clinics all over the country were inundated with patients, running out of tests and masks and having to set up triage tents outside to protect other patients. We’ve all been waiting for the end of flu season, when we could let our guards down a bit and stop buying Clorox wipes in bulk. Not to fast, says the CDC. A second wave of the virus, flu B, seems to be on the rise. And that’s bad news for kids.
The CDC reports that cases of flu A are on the decline, which is good news. But strains of the flu B virus made up nearly 58% of cases in the week of March 17.
Up until now, the A-strain of the virus has been more dominant. But B-strain was apparently feeling a bit left out. The rise in flu b is particularly troubling for young kids. CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told CNN, “We know that illness associated with influenza B can be just as severe as illness associated with influenza A. We also know that influenza B tends to be more severe for younger children.out. The rise in flu B is particularly troubling for young kids.”
The flu shot is still the best protection we have against the flu, even if the shot isn’t performing at a high rate of efficacy. But keep in mind, just because you got the flu shot, or had the flu already this season, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
If you had flu A, you can still get flu B. So experts still recommend you get a flu shot, if you haven’t already. The symptoms for flu B are similar to flu Z: runny nose, high fever, cough, and sore throat. Some people also experience gastrointestinal issues. And then there’s the pesky matter of weird symptoms you might not associate with the flu. When in doubt, call your doctor or pediatrician. And keep those Clorox wipes handy for at least another month.
(Image: iStock / tatyana_tomsickova)