Flu season not over yet as unusual March spike hits

Doctor reminds patients to prevent flu, get flu shot


Despite the fact it's spring -- we're still fighting the flu. 

Typically flu is winding down this time of year, but according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's still hanging around. 

According to Dr. Kristin Englund, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic, doctors are seeing an unexpected rise in influenza across the country. 

"Typically we'll see influenza peaking around January or February, which doesn't mean we don't see cases in March, but it's unusual to have a spike occurring in March and that's what we're dealing with right now," she said.

According to Englund, the H3N2 virus is what's currently making people sick.

She said it's an aggressive virus and similar to the one we saw last flu season that killed an estimated 80,000 people. 

However, it's important to know that the H3N2 virus is different from the H1N1 virus we saw earlier this winter. Therefore, people infected with the flu early in the season, may still catch the strain that's circulating now.

Even though "spring has sprung," Englund advises that we keep our guard up against the flu.  

She said it's always best to practice frequent and thorough hand washing and cover coughs and sneezes to prevent spreading illness to others. 

Englund said the flu shot is the best protection from the flu -- and it's not too late to get one. 

"I'm giving flu vaccines to people today," Englund said. "It's important that we keep them protected for the rest of the season. If the season is peaking right now, it can still continue for another month."