New strain of flu on the rise - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

New strain of flu on the rise

New strain of flu on the rise

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        The flu season is still going strong and there's no end in sight.

        Since mid December the number of cases has skyrocketed. Forty people in Nebraska have died from the flu this season, one of those, a child.

        But the strain of flu that's now on the rise is changing.

        "H3N2 is still around but it's on the decline while influenza b is on the increase," said Tim Timmins of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

        H3N2 is a strain of influenza a that is common during the flu season.

        The strain usually hits early and is widespread, but it's been on the decline in recent weeks.

        Doctors are now seeing a rise in influenza B cases, both nationally and right here in Lincoln.

        "Influenza B tends to be a milder flu strain but it can cause some severe flu in individuals," Timmins said. 

        Both strains of the flu have similar symptoms: fever, body aches, and fatigue.

        While the flu shot is not 100% effective this year the Health Department says it's still your best line of defense.

        Some people think getting the flu shot puts them at risk for the flu, but that's not true.

        "The flu vaccine has a killed virus it's not a live virus it can't cause you to get the flu."

        If you get the flu contact your doctor immediately to start an anti–viral medication like tamiflu.

        The flu can spread easily so it's best to stay home until you're symptom free.

        "They have to be without a fever and not on any fever reducing medication for 24 hours before the risk of them transmitting the flu to others is reduced."

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