After a quiet influenza season in 2020-2021, the flu is starting to make a comeback.
According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visits for patients with influenza-like illness are nearly double compared to years past.
University hospitals like Michigan and Florida State are starting to see around 50-60 patients a day showing up for cases of the flu. Most of those patients are aged 18-25.
A good portion of those patients are being diagnosed with Influenza A (H3N2).
“Those numbers are alarming. The number of people ages 18-25 that are vaccinated are lower now than in recent history,” Thompson said.
What is Influenza A (H3N2)?
There are two types of influenza: type A and type B.
“Type B is the normal human flu that we see every year,” Thompson said. “Type A, which is currently being spread at a high rate, is known to mutate more and cause more infections.”
Both are treated in the same manner, but Type A can become more severe.
This year’s flu vaccine is a quadrivalent. This means the vaccine provides protection against two A strains and two B strains.
Ways to prevent the spread
Like many viruses, there are ways to stop the spread of infection.
Common ways to prevent the flu include:
- Washing hands for 20 seconds.
- Wearing a mask in high populated areas.
- Staying at home when sick.
- Practicing other good health habits.
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to help stop the spread.
Missouri State students, faculty, and staff (and their dependents) can get their free flu vaccine at Magers Health and Wellness Center.