Flu season picking up in Missouri

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. By now, you probably have had the flu, know someone who has the flu or are actively trying to avoid catching it. Already this year,.influenza and pneumonia have claimed more than 650 lived in Missouri alone. And, doctors say that not only is flu season far from over, but you can be diagnosed with "the flu" more than once.

"There are multiple strands that you can get," Said Dr. Ron Jones. Jones is a pediatrician for Mercy and says, "there's two strands going around right now that the hospital's monitoring. There's an A strain that's been going around that 's probably the most predominate one, and there's a B strand that's not quite as widespread, but it's right behind it. There's no reason that people can't get it twice.

While he cannot recall any cases this year, Jones went on to say, "I've seen a lot of kids come in with and illness and then come back with a similar thing, and that might very well be flu again."

Flu season can carry all the way into April, but this year is already being compared to 2014-2015 flu season This was a season where there were over 53,000 cases of the flu reported in Missouri, and influenza and pneumonia claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people.

"This year strikes me as probably being a little worse than that year," Dr. Jones said. "I think we've seen more flu this year than I have in the last several years for sure. This kind of reminds me a little bit of the the H1N1 outbreak that we had several years ago. Not quite that bad, but it's getting attention for sure."

while it many not be perfect, doctors still recommend that you get the flu shot.

"It's got the reputation of only being 10% effective," Dr. Jones said. "But, that actually comes from data from Australia, and the CDC is thinking that it's probably going to work a little better here: about 30-35%, which is kind of standard for that H3N2. About as good as it gets with a vaccine."

Since flu season can carry on into the spring months, the best advice that doctors have to make sure you're avoiding a visit to their office is to continue washing your hands and drink plenty of fluids. It is also recommended that you stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours once your fever breaks.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.