GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —
We were hit mainly with H1N1 at the beginning of this flu season. Now we’re seeing a second wave of Influenza A, in a less common, but more severe strain known as H3N2.
Our two sources for this story are Elizabeth Suing, a physician assistant with Spectrum Health, and the CDC.
In recent weeks, the CDC says more than half of the testing data reported the H3N2 strain.
“This is probably the peak of the flu were going to see," Suing said. "Usually flu season is October to May, but usually see it ramp up between January and early March, so we're a little bit late this year.”
Although this flu season hasn’t been as bad as years past, there’s been an uptick in cases this month.
“Could have to do with everybody staying home more at the beginning of the season, now everybody's back in school and back at work, so now we're kind of spreading those germs more around,” Suing said.
She added that for the first time, this year the CDC is coming out with vaccine effectiveness data during flu season.
“Right now it's showing about 60 percent for kids, how effective it is, and for overall population it's more in the 40s,” Suing said.
The vaccine does protect against H3N2, and we can VERIFY you can still get vaccinated until late April and even May.
“You can still get it, sooner rather than later," Suing said. "It takes about two weeks to become effective.”
The CDC recommends people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, but said getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year. Even if you still get it, it'll be less severe and shorter with the vaccine.
To prevent getting and spreading the flu, make sure you also wash your hands, disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs, cover your mouth when you cough and stay home if you're sick.
If you do have flu-like symptoms, you can get help from the comfort of your own home.
Spectrum Health offers MedNow Primary Care, which connects you to a provider on your mobile device or computer, through video and messaging.
You can schedule an appointment by calling 844.322.7374. To learn more, visit Spectrum's website.