Just when you thought flu season was over, Centra Care doctors are reporting that Influenza, specifically Flu type B, is What’s Going Around.
Centra Care Medical Director, Dr. Tim Hendrix, believes the numbers are a pretty good indication that flu cases will be lingering into the summer.
Areas that reported an increase include:
Longwood – up 150%
Mount Dora – up 500%
South Orange (kids) – up 300%
Brandon (kids) – up 200%
The A,B,C’s of Influenza
Influenza viruses are classified as type A, B or C based upon their protein composition. Types A and B are what make up the typical influenza season each year. Type C causes mild respiratory infections, but does not spark epidemics. Influenza A and Influenza B are included in each year’s flu vaccine. It’s impossible to self-diagnose just what kind of flu you’re dealing with; only lab tests can determine which type you may have.
Getting a flu vaccine can protect against flu viruses that are the same or related to the viruses in the vaccine.
So do you have the flu or just a cold? Both are upper respiratory infections caused by viruses, so many of the symptoms appear to be similar. Generally, flu symptoms come on more quickly and are much more severe than cold symptoms. Below is a chart that can help you determine if you have a cold or the flu:
Source: CDC and National Institutes of Health
If you think you have the flu it’s important to seek medical care quickly. The flu can cause serious complications for some people such as bacterial pneumonia, or it can worsen chronic medical conditions like asthma or diabetes. Complications are more likely in the elderly, those with chronic conditions, young children and pregnant women.
Centra Care has a quick influenza test that can tell within minutes if you’ve got it. The earlier you are diagnosed can make a difference in how long the flu lasts or how severe it may become. Anti-viral prescription medications (like Tamiflu) can be quite effective, if they are started within 48 hours of symptom onset.