Super strain

I don’t know about you guys, but it seems like everyone I know is getting sick. If they’re not complaining of a stomach bug, they’re sneezing and hacking. If they’re not sneezing and hacking, they’re avoiding everyone who is. I can’t say I blame them.

Although it’s peak flu season and these kinds of illnesses are to be expected, these viruses seem to be more common than ever, and I’m not the only one who’s noticed.

On December 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an official health advisory regarding the flu virus this year. The advisory states that there has been a noticed increase in the activity of the influenza A(H3N2) virus and its clinical implications.

But this isn’t the first year where influenza A(H3N2) has been the predominant flu virus. In the past, this strain has caused a higher rate of hospitalizations and deaths in people 65 years and older. This strain seems to be tougher than others. In fact, vaccine effectiveness (VE) is reported to be lower against this virus than the other flu viruses.

That being said, the CDC still encourages people to receive a flu vaccination. Peak flu season isn’t over until February, but people can contract the flu all year long. In some years, flu activity has been recorded as late in the year as May.

Although influenza A(H3N2) seems more resilient, receiving the flu vaccination can still protect you. If you receive the vaccination, it’s a lot less likely you will contract the virus. If you’re one of the unlucky ones who contracts the flu anyway, the vaccine will allow your body to bounce back from the illness quicker and prevent virus symptoms from reaching their full potential.

If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, you should do so immediately. Like I said earlier, flu season isn’t over for a couple months so there’s still time to save yourself from this nasty bug. Here at the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department, we are still giving flu shots and have many available. Appointments are available all week.

If you’d like to know more about the flu virus or how you could schedule an appointment, call the office at 304-265-1288 and ask for one of our Public Health Nurses, or visit our website at

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