Number of flu cases already higher than last year
December 04, 2017 05:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Off to a fast and furious start, the flu season is already widespread in a handful of states. Doctors suspect the dominant strain this year is one of the most severe.
Once it begins to spread, it's hard to stop.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four states currently have widespread activity. That's four more than last year at this time.
Mark Whitaker, the medical director for Molina Health Care in Albuquerque, said while it's hard to predict just what the season will hold, the predominant strain appears to be H3N2.
"Generally with flu season, a lot of people get the flu either worse or mild depending on the strain and vaccination," he said. "But generally, this is the one that causes more significant symptoms."
More significant symptoms could lead to hospitalization. According to a map from the CDC website, New Mexico has local flu activity. Oklahoma is the closest state with widespread activity.
"It's still early in the flu season and there's no reason to believe it won't get worse before it gets better," Whitaker said.
It's also suspected this year's vaccine won't be very effective, but Whitaker said don't let that keep you from getting the shot.
"Because even if it doesn't offer 90 or 100 percent effectiveness, it is going to help if you get the flu where you don't get as sick," he said.
Whitaker said you can tell the flu from a common cold because your symptoms will include a headache. Other symptoms include fever and sore throat.
To make an appointment at a New Mexico Department of Health flu shot clinics, call 1-800-232-4636. For more information on influenza vaccinations, click here: https://nmhealth.org/about/phd/idb/imp/fluv/
For a vaccine finder, click here: https://vaccinefinder.org/
Updated: December 04, 2017 05:19 PM
Created: December 04, 2017 06:37 AM
Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved