Be vigilante in flu season
The flu season of 2018 has arrived in Panola County, meaning vigilance is required.
It’s still early in the season, but the flu arrived early to Mississippi, with widespread cases reported by mid-December. In early January, more cases have been reported, including many here in Panola County.
If this sounds like a familiar tune we hear every season, pay attention: This year is different.
Two reasons why:
1) This year’s dominant flu strain is Influenza A (H3N2). The rates of hospitalization and deaths are typically higher in seasons when H3N2 is the dominant strain
2) The H3N2 strain does not appear as responsive to the flu vaccine. Usually, the flu vaccine is 40 to 60 percent effective in a season. But strains mutate making it an inexact science. All indications this season are that the vaccine is not as effective.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should not get a vaccine. Since the flu can be dangerous, every precaution should be taken. It may not keep everyone from getting the flu, but if it is 30 percent effective, then it is worth the try. Also, some experts believe having the flu shot this year may at least lessen the impact of the H3N2 flu.
It also helps to address any flu-like symptoms immediately. That means getting out of the workplace or school and seeing a doctor. A simple and easy flu test can both get helpful treatment that can reduce virus duration and let you know to avoid public places and close contact with family members.
As for other advice, it’s something we have all heard before but the reminders are important at a time like this:
–Wash your hands frequently.
–Don’t go back to work or school until your fever is gone.
We’ve already seen some impact from the flu in our schools and workplaces, so we know that the virus has found Panola County in 2018.
Now, it’s up to us to try and limit how far and fast it spreads.