Va. reports flu uptick at close of 2016

WASHINGTON — Virginia is one of 12 states that reported widespread flu during the last week of 2016.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the flu was less prevalent in Maryland and D.C., but health experts say everyone around the region should prepare.

“We’re just starting to see flu, and it’s going to get much worse over the next month,” Pamela Prindle, nurse administrator of the immunization clinic at Foxhall Internists in D.C., told WTOP.

If you get the virus and want to treat it effectively, get your hands on medicine fast.

“You really need to get the antiviral on board within the first 24 to 48 hours,” said Prindle.

Even better, she said, take action before you get sick.

“The best thing anyone can do is just get a (flu) shot, regardless of how late they might think it might be in the season — it’s not.”

How do you know whether you have the flu?

“Outrageous fever and body aches and pains — that’s the first thing that someone will notice. They’ll get chilled and they just don’t feel well and they’re very achy and next thing you know they’ve got a fever of 101 (or) 102,” Prindle said.

One strain of flu that’s making the rounds this season is called H3N2. Prindle said it’s so nasty that even if you get the flu shot, you might still get a minor case of the flu.

“It has nothing to do with the matchup (of virus and vaccine); it’s the type of strain that it is. It’s just a bad strain of flu, and the vaccine, even though it’s matched well, is not going to be that effective against this type of influenza.”

Prindle said H3N2 also tends to send more elderly people and children to the hospital.

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Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter turned morning anchor at WTOP News.

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