Influenza B is going around — here’s how to prepare for the “Second Wave” of flu season

Just when we thought we were in the clear, the flu strikes again. Don’t put away that hand sanitizer just yet because influenza B is going around. According to the CDC’s weekly flu report for week 12 of the 2017-2018 flu season, flu diagnoses have decreased nation-wide. But those still being diagnosed are testing positive for influenza B, therefore signaling the “second wave” of flu season, as The Cut reports.

The “good” news is that influenza B is not as contagious as the influenza A strain that plagued the country earlier this year. In fact, seeing a B strain pop up after a long-lasting A strain is quite common.

Flu expert and associate dean of clinical affairs at Columbia University School of Nursing, Stephen Ferrara, told The Cut, "This is typical in a flu season. A strains drop and then we see a second wave of influenza B. We’re not sure why that happens — there are hypotheses that it could be weather related, and as temperatures warm up, influenza B becomes more prevalent — but we just don’t know."

Although the B strain is less infectious, it can still cause just as much harm as an A strain of influenza. Influenza B can be deadly for children especially. But because it’s less contagious, the B strain is easier to prevent.

Speaking of prevention, your flu shot most likely protects you from at least one strain of influenza B. But unfortunately, scientists are not yet sure which strain is going around.

"For people who do get influenza following vaccination," Ferrara said to The Cut, "their case of the flu tends to not be as severe. There’s not as high a fever, and it doesn’t have as long a duration."

The best way to dodge the second wave of flu season is to keep washing your hands, stock up on vitamins, drink your orange juice, and hope there’s no “third wave” lurking in the near future.

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