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Second wave of flu affecting people across the country - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Second wave of flu affecting people across the country

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Although it seems flu season may be winding down, an uptick in cases of one particular flu strain is setting the scene for a possible second wave of the flu. 

The strain of flu that has dominated this season, influenza A, is on the decline but cases of influenza B have recently spiked. 

Not only did the flu season kick off early this time, it was severe. 

Since November, 18 people in San Luis Obispo County have died of the flu. The latest two deadly cases were just this month. 

Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of a second wave. 

"We already went through it once," said local Tracey Anderson. 

She says sickness caused her family to reschedule Christmas. 

"It's frightening," Anderson said. "It's really frightening to think that like I have, you know, elderly parents and, you know, and my sister's kids, they're triplets. They're 10 so you know, when the kids go to school, they're exposed to everything." 

"We do know that flu B circulates especially well in small children and can be very dangerous," said Ann McDowell, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Epidemiologist. 

"It's been a pretty remarkable flu season and I thought it was over until a few days ago when a child came into the office and tested positive for influenza B," said Dr. Rene Bravo, pediatrician. 

Dr. Bravo says in his career, he has not seen a case of influenza this late in the season. Most of the influenza cases he saw this season were between Christmas and the middle of January. 

"When I saw a case a few days ago I said, this is something different, this is something new," Bravo said. 

Still, the same advice applies when it comes to avoiding flu, like washing your hands regularly.

"The moment that we feel on the edge we take care of it by having extra supplements, water, extra sleep, and so far so good," said local Monica Jensen. 

Health officials add it's not too late to get a flu shot. 

"It turns out that the CDC is estimating that the vaccine was much more effective against influenza B than it was A. Since influenza B is now the predominant virus, flu vaccine can be especially helpful," McDowell concluded. 

Another important thing to add is that you can catch multiple versions of the flu in the same season.

The California Department of Public Health reports 245 deaths in the state this flu season to date. 
 

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