KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's an unwelcome holiday guest this year, as flu cases began appearing in our area in November, and doctors say the virus is really picking up steam now.
At the Urgency Room in Kansas City North, around 30 people a day are testing positive for the flu on the rapid test. The state health department says in Northwest Missouri, including the Kansas City metro, there have been 12 times as many reported cases as the average for the past five flu seasons.
"We're seeing now a remarkably high incidence of influenza B in the clinic," says Dr. Michael Shafe. He says it's possible that the B strain in the vaccine is not a great match for what's going around. That means there may be something other than good cheer spread at your Christmas gatherings.
So wash your hands frequently, get plenty of sleep and stay away from those who are coughing or sneezing.
The doctor says if the young, the elderly and people with weak immune systems think they've been exposed to the flu, they can get a prescription medicine to try to prevent it or at least reduce the severity.