You might be thinking the weather has been warming up, flowers have started to bloom, and we are done with flu season. Not yet, we are still getting the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that this year’s flu season has been one of the longest since 1997, when the agency started keeping records. Also, it has been the longest in the past decade.
Lynnette Brammer of the CDC Influenza Division said, “This year was the longest flu season we’ve seen in the past 10 years. Previously the longest was 20 weeks and right now we’re at 21.”
One of the reasons for this year’s longest flu season is that two strains of flu viruses have surfaced at different times.
Brammer added, “The beginning of the season was H1N1 predominant, and then as that went down, H3N2 viruses went up. We did have two different waves of influenza this year.”
Last month, the CDC’s weekly flu report stated that the flu activity remains elevated and widespread activity and it was reported in 48 states and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Arnold Monto, a researcher at the University of Michigan, said, “I don’t remember a season like this.”
This season, nearly 41 million people had flu symptoms, up to 19 million visited the doctor, and more than 610,000 hospitalized so far.
Although flu cases have been declining, doctors say there is a possibility of flu spreading even in the warmer weather.
Brammer explained, “Given the way the flu season is going, if you have flu-like symptoms, there’s a good chance you do have flu.” CDC officials recommend taking common-sense precautions such as washing hands thoroughly and staying home when you are sick to prevent the spread of the virus.