MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Entering the height of flu season, MedExpress Registered Nurse Jane Trombetta said this year’s strain isn’t something to take lightly.
“We really want to emphasize the importance of getting your flu shot,” she said Thursday on WAJR’s Morgantown AM. “And also if you develop symptoms, get home, get away from people, isolate yourself, and try to get treated early.”
Flu season began in October, but Trombetta said December-February mark the true height of the season — a season in which this particular strain of flu doesn’t perfectly match with the vaccine.
“There’s some concern now that the flu vaccine may not be a perfect match to the viruses that are actually circulating out in the community,” Trombetta said.
The holiday season, which includes an enormous amount of travel, only compounds the problem, Trombetta said.
“We’re heading into the holidays, and we’re all going to be around families and friends, and traveling,” she said. “The close contact and cold weather just makes this the peak next 60 days for flu to arise.”
MedExpress data shows West Virginia as a state has the third highest flu reports this season.
“We expect this year to be higher than other prior years already,” Trombetta said. “When we look at the numbers and we look at the CDC’s tracking center for disease control, we’re seeing a higher incidence this year at this time.”
This does not mean you should forego the vaccine available, Trombetta said.
“That flu vaccine may reduce your probability of getting the flu,” she said. “If you get that vaccine, you won’t get the flu to the exact strains that are in that vaccine, but you can still get it to another strain.”
Even if you don’t get a matching strain, Trombetta said the vaccine has additional benefits.
“If you do get the flu, the severity and the duration is reduced having had that vaccine,” she said.
Warning signs for the flu often look like the common cold, but Trombetta said there is a key difference.
“Everyone needs to understand, you can get up and go to work in the morning and feel well and by noon your head is on the desk,” she said. “Starts with fever, chills, you are just cold, you can’t go warm, sore throat, then you start coughing. You need to go home.”
An earlier report indicated this year’s vaccine was only 10 percent effective in the Southern Hemisphere during their flu season.