Flu Season: It's here and will be widespread during the holidays
Mary Anne Jackson, Division Director, Infectious Diseases
The flu season has arrived early this year. Over the past two weeks, there has been a steady rise in detections of both influenza A and influenza B here in the Kansas City area. While it’s unusual to see influenza A and B co-circulate so early in the season, it happens. (CDC is reporting 80 percent flu A and 20 percent flu B—locally we have identified 60 percent flu A and 40 percent flu B).
With the number of influenza cases expected to increase throughout December, it’s likely we’ll see widespread disease and more flu-related superinfections, mixed among other respiratory viral diseases, over the upcoming holidays.
And we’re not the only region seeing the flu early this year. At least one Midwest state (Oklahoma) and many Southern states have already reported moderate to high activity. The CDC reports the biggest uptick is in children 1-4 years, followed by adults 50-64 years and then over 65 years.
Although it’s still early in the season, there have already been five pediatric deaths nationally due to flu complications. The best way to protect you and your family is to get the influenza vaccine. Anyone six months or older should receive the flu vaccine.
If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, you’ll need to do it sooner rather than later. The influenza season will likely peak the second week of January and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the virus.
Learn more about staying healthy during flu season.
Learn more about Flu Shots: Debunking 5 Popular Myths about the Flu Vaccine.
Learn more about the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy.