H3N2 strain takes over flu season

Flu headshot

Flu headshot

Anu Sharma

This year’s flu season may be bad, but it’s not the worst season according to Dr. Neha Vyas from the Cleveland Clinic. The dominant strain, H3N2, has made this year’s flu season miserable.

The flu should not be confused with the common cold. According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, sore throat, fatigue, headaches and runny or stuffy nose. The common cold symptoms do not include fever or body aches.

Dr. Vyas stated the flu shots were not ineffective, but minimally it provides a 30 percent protection. For prevention against the flu, she said to stay away from those infected, wash hands and use an alcohol-based sanitizer before touching the eyes, nose and mouth. Practice good personal hygiene by wiping down personal items with disinfectant wipes.

For those already infected, Dr. Vyas suggested to “stay away, stay home … don’t try to fight it,” as well as isolate yourself to prevent infecting anyone else.  With 11 weeks left in flu season, Dr. Vyas stated it’s never too late to get the flu shot, as it takes two weeks to build immunity. Some flu shots have three strains while others have four, however, both are effective this flu season. When in doubt, ask your primary doctor if you’re concerned you have the flu.

Kaitlin Stanaitis, a junior visual communication design major, stays vigilant this flu season.

“I’m wiping down all of our kitchen counters everyday and kind of staying away from my roommates cause some of them are sick.”

Senior chemistry major Caitlin Hawkins said she is “more concerned than I have been in the past,” regarding the severity of this flu season.

Dr. Vyas states that the flu can become severe enough to turn into pneumonia. A shortness of breath is an indicator that those fallen ill to the flu should seek medical attention. It’s important to stay vigilant this flu season, especially with this year’s severity of the flu. According to cleveland.com, there have been 11 flu-related deaths in Cuyahoga county.

Flu shots are available at local pharmacies such as CVS or Walgreens. Pharmacy Manager Sarah France says there are two flu shots, a quadrivalent or a trivalent. Both have three to four strains of the virus in the vaccines. Flu shots are available at the CVS Minute Clinic.

Anu Sharma is the health reporter. Contact her at [email protected].