CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There has been a 10 percent rise in the number of flu cases over the last two weeks at MedExpress centers in West Virginia.
“We are definitely in the midst of peak flu season,” said Jane Trombetta, RN, vice president of Quality at MedExpress.
Out the 18 states MedExpress serves, West Virginia had the second highest amount of flu cases reported this season.
Health officials say we’re in a flu epidemic. The virus is widespread in the state and across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There have been more cases of Influenza A, which seems to be the more virulent of the strains. Health experts say the current flu vaccine is only 30 percent effective this year.
“This year there’s a little bit of concern about the match between the vaccine and what we’re seeing in the community especially when it comes to Influenza A. We’re seeing a lot of H3N2, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It tends to make people feel a little bit worse than some of the other flu strains,” Trombetta said.
Getting the flu is different than getting a seasonal cold. Trombetta said the flu hits you all at once.
“With the flu, it hits you a lot more sudden. You can get up in the morning and feel okay and go to work/school and by lunch time you’re down and need to go home,” she said. “It’s a cough, fever, chills, you really feel lousy. As soon as those symptoms begin, the clock starts to tick.”
Trombetta said a person with the flu should see their doctor to get anti-viral medication within the first 48 hours.
In some cases, she said the flu can keep a person out of work or school for up to two weeks.
Trombetta, like many other health officials, continue to express the importance of flu prevention by washing your hands and getting the flu shot if you haven’t already. She said it’s never too late to get the vaccine.
The flu season typically runs through March.