As this year’s nasty flu strain spreads across the nation, 8 deaths in Idaho are being blamed on it.
Health workers say this year’s flu vaccine seems to be well matched for the dominant strain going around Idaho.
The Centers for Disease Control says 47 states are now reporting a widespread flu outbreak, including Idaho.
“I don’t think the vaccine is protecting us 100 percent this year, though it does help immensely,” said Dr. Anne Broadway, Medical Director of Readicare.
At Redicare in Idaho Falls, the majority of those seeking medical attention for their flu-like symptoms are testing positive for a particular strain of the flu, knows as “Influenza B.”
“People that have had the influenza vaccine when they’ve come down with the flu, we’ve seen a higher number of them testing positive for the influenza type B, so there might not be as good coverage for that particular strain that we’re seeing in the community,” said Broadway.
Other than getting the flu vaccine, there really is no other way to protect yourself from the virus.
Your best defense is avoiding those who appear ill and washing your hands; especially after touching common germ-ridden items like computer keyboards, telephones, door handles, handrails and restaurant menus.
“The treatment for the flu is actually supportive care. It’s tylenol, ibuprofen, it’s chicken soup, it’s TLC,” said Broadway.
There is an anti-viral medication called “Tamiflu” that reduces the duration of the symptoms if you take it within the first 48 hours of being ill… but you’ll need a doctor’s prescription for it.
According to the CDC, about 62 percent of those who have been vaccinated have not experienced flu-like symptoms.
There’s still no word on the total number of flu cases in Idaho this season because it’s classified as a common illness and isn’t recorded.