News about the coronavirus may be grabbing headlines, but influenza B has gripped the nation and Johnson County this flu season. This is a shift in the predominant strain causing most illnesses. Influenza B viruses have not predominated in the United States for 27 years.
Hardest hit this season have been children, according to the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s weekly flu report. Since flu reporting is not mandated in Kansas, JCDHE compiles flu data from Johnson County physicians, urgent care centers, schools and hospitals to identify unusual flu activity, determine which viruses are more predominate, and how those viruses may affect the community.
“Because we’re seeing more influenza B this season, which tends to be more common in children than adults, it’s important to keep sick children home from school and childcare to prevent the spread of illness in our community,” said Mary Beverly, JCDHE interim director.
Beverly adds that frequent handwashing, covering your coughs and sneezes and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help stop the spread of germs, too.
JCDHE recommends that anyone with influenza-like illness who has received a positive laboratory test for influenza or is being treated with antiviral medication for influenza, remain at home for five days following the onset of symptoms. If fever persists for more than five days, continue exclusion until 24 hours fever-free.
Beverly says flu can linger well into the spring, so there is still time to get a flu shot.
“A flu shot may prevent you from getting the flu or reduce the severity and length of your symptoms if you do get ill,” Beverly said. Flu shots are available to anyone six months of age and older at the county’s two walk-in health clinics in Olathe and Mission.
Learn more about the flu.