This year's devastating flu season just won't quit. Even though spring is here, the CDC issued a warning to all Americans, particularly parents, to remain vigilant when it comes to the flu.
Richard Benson, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBN News as the deadly influenza A that ravaged the entire nation earlier in the season diminishes, influenza B is the newest threat, especially for kids.
"Influenza B is usually worse for younger children," he said. Benson also added adding influenza B can be just as bad for adults as influenza A.
The CDC reports five children died from the flu in the week ending March 17th. Four of those children were infected with influenza B. So far, the total number of children to die from both influenza A and B this season stands at 133.
"Circulating strains this season, which began in October, were a mix of A viruses, H3N2 and H1N1, and B viruses," Benson said, "There's often a wave of influenza B during seasons when influenza A H3N2 was the predominant virus earlier in the season."
Parents should take their child to the doctor if the child:
- is struggling to breathe
- has a poor appetite
- is unusually irritable
These can be signs of the flu.
Regardless of age, many people feel confused about whether the symptoms they, or a loved one, is experiencing is the cold or the much more severe flu. The CDC tweeted a simple guide to help tell the difference between the cold and the flu. Among other things, significant fever, aches and fatigue come on quickly when a person is infected with influenza compared to the common cold.
Is it a cold or #flu? Both are respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses that may require special diagnostic tests. Learn some of the differences between cold and flu. https://t.co/7WjAoXbzIl pic.twitter.com/WB6TYonL7C
The CDC warns against a false sense of security by pointing out that even if people had influenza A already this season, they are still able to contract influenza B. Therefore, the CDC warns people to take precautions against getting sick. Number one on the list: wash your hands frequently, preferably lathering for 20 seconds. The CDC also recommends staying away from people who are sick, getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet.