West Michigan Health Experts say flu season is here

Posted at 4:23 PM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 16:44:28-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - If you haven’t gotten sick yet, watch out!

The cold and flu season is here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s a late start, but the virus is definitely spreading and is expected to get worse in coming weeks.

We gave Doctor Richard VanEnk, Director of Infection Prevention & Epidemiolgy at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo a call, he told us; “It’s sort of sneaking in, that’s the way I would describe it… The flu always starts somewhere and then it spreads so it looks like it has started on the East and West coast and then is spreading to the Midwest.”

Everyone is at risk when it comes to the flu.

VanEnk continued, “It is a contagious disease and so we could definitely see adult cases around the holidays that are associated with family gatherings.”

And as far as kids?

“You would predict that as soon as the kids go back to school next week we might get a blip, we’ll probably see a rise because children will spread it,” states VanEnk.

Last year’s vaccine wasn’t as effective against an unexpected strain of the influenza virus and that could have lead to so many deaths, but VanEnk says this year doctors have more confidence that the vaccine is spot on to help protect you better; “There seems to be a good match between the predominate flu strain in the United States right now and the vaccine that we’re giving to people in the United States right now. If you’ve been immunized that means that you probably have pretty good protection against this virus, and if you haven’t there is still plenty of time because the flu season is coming in slowly. You can still protect yourself against this virus by getting the vaccine now.”