Influenza A has hit Indiana with over 130 cases reported to the Indiana State Department of Health. Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch was asked how concerned we should be with this strain of the flu.
“As concerned as we should be about seasonal flu or any other type of flu,” explained Lynch. “Right now the flu that we’re seeing is more concentrated in farmers of swine and that kind of thing.”
Lynch was quick to say that this strain of flu should not be associated with the swine flu.
“Swine flu was H1N1, the one that everybody seems to refer to, and it was causing different types of complications with respiratory infections. This one right now is coming across with flu-like symptoms. We’re not seeing it attacking the groups of people that H1N1 was. Right now it’s just coming across as plain old flu, but it’s early yet and anything can change,” Lynch said.
It’s not even flu season yet and health officials are warning us about this type of flu.
“Since H1N1, we’re seeing flu year-round. There are different types of viruses that are causing the flu that are popping up here and there,” Lynch noted. “This is not the normal flu season.”
Lynch was asked if there’s a flu vaccine for this strain.
“Not for this strain. They first started seeing this strain in July of last year,” he said.
Seasonal flu vaccines will be offered beginning in September.
“It’s a little earlier than what we usually do, but getting your seasonal flu shot will help protect you from anything. The only thing you need to keep in mind with getting your seasonal flu shot early is it starts to wane after four or five months,” Lynch said. “If you get it too early and when we hit the peak of flu season around February or March, your immunity may be a little bit less than what it could be if you got it in October or November.”
Call the Starke County Health Department for more information on flu shots at (574) 772-9137.