Each year, people around the world dread the epidemic of influenza which has caused great loss of lives in the past. This year, the Center of Disease and Control are concerned about the evolved influenza A virus, which is also known as H3N2. Evolution means a certain mutation in the strand of the virus that can lead to high virulence and can produce severe disease.
“Generally speaking, the A strain seems to be more severe in its symptoms and the duration seems to be a bit longer,” said Corey Kirkland, assistant administrator for Public Health Area 10.
The CDC advises people to get their shots of vaccination for the flu. Vaccinations can prove to be helpful even in mutated strains and in case that the flu vaccinations do not work on the mutated strains, they can help in boosting the immune system towards previous strains. This can help prevent superinfection.
“From year to year it’s hard to determine the strain. We recommend that people try and get the flu vaccine as soon as you can, because it takes a few weeks to build up immunity. Even though the strain has drifted a little bit in the type of flu that it is, there is still evidence that the vaccine does help. Plus, there are two or three other starains floating around, and those strains are covered by that shot. You can protect yourself from those strains and potentially others.”
Finally, the CDC suggests people to take precautionary measures to reduce the incidence of the disease and prevent its transmission to healthy people. Normal and trivial measures like washing hands and avoiding touching contaminated objects and sick people.
“One thing that helps to prevent the flu is just basic hygiene stuff that we have all heard many times before,” Kirkland said. “This includes good hand washing, and hand washing often, covering your cough and using the bend in your arm for that. I always urge parents with kids to work on hand washing and covering cough, as children generally share toys.”
Incase that a person is infected, exposure to other people should be avoided so as to limit transmission. All those who have experienced symptoms should visit the doctor as soon as possible.