By Juliannah Harris
The flu season reached Humboldt County early this year, and is on the decline according to Centers For Disease Control FluView Reports. Which could leave some to think the flu season is over, but don’t put away the Kleenex just yet. The influenza virus is still very active, and will continue to be for many months.
Bethany Rizzardi, an information technology consultant at HSU, can verify first-hand the flu is still active. Rizzardi recently fell victim to the flu after the Valentine’s Day holiday.
“I quasi-expected to get the flu,” said Rizzardi. “I certainly knew the flu season was not over, so it was a risk. Also, at least two people in my office had come down with the flu …The flu symptoms were awful, but I haven’t had the flu in years (maybe a decade).”
Local health care centers are still seeing patients with flu symptoms coming in.
“I can say that each year’s flu season is different in the Health Center, that some seasons are more severe than others, and that the Student Health Center has been seeing patients with flu-like symptoms,” said Mary VanCott, the director of Student Health and Wellness Services.
With new cases still being treated, when will this year’s flu season come to an end? It is impossible say exactly when, but studies hint there is a trend in activity. According to a California Department of Public Health report analyzing the flu data up to the week of Feb. 3-6 the current flu season appears to be closely following the trend of the moderately-severe ’07-’08 flu season. The ’07-’08 season peaked similarly at the end of Dec. ’07, started to decline, and did not plateau until May ’08. If this year’s flu season continues in the pattern predicted the flu virus will linger for quite some time.
So, Humboldt County is in store for many more months of vigilant hand washing and cough covering to avoid spreading germs. However, the single best way to protect against the flu, according to the CDC, is to get vaccinated each year even if it is late in the season.