KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If you haven’t already received your flu shot, make it a high priority this season.
The government says we’re on target for one of the worst flu seasons on record. As of the last week of December, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the flu is widespread in 41 states, including Kansas.
The CDC has tracked at least 22 hundred hospitalizations and 18 deaths among children. None of the deaths were in Kansas.
The government can’t track every single flu case because many people choose not to see a doctor, but by monitoring web searches, Google rates the flu activity in Kansas as “intense.”
Flu symptoms include a fever, feeling achy, headaches and fatigue. Doctors say the best way to avoid getting the flu is getting a flu shot and then giving it at least two to three weeks to fully kick in. However, because this season’s strain is so strong, pharmacists say some patients are contracting the virus even after getting their shots.
“One possible reason is because one of the viruses that is circulating in the United States is this h3n2 virus,” said Dr. Michael Jhung with the CDC. “This influenza virus has been linked to seasons in the past that have been severe, so we think that may be one of the reasons that we’re seeing so much activity right now.”
Unlike Kansas, Missouri hasn’t been ruled as an flu outbreak state. Experts attribute this to a high vaccination rate, but doctors they warn that flu season is still not over. In fact, it’s not expected to peak until February or March.