The Main Stream

Jan 25, 2013 8:25 PM by John Patrick

Significant Pima County flu season

TUCSON - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that this year's flu season is severe and continues to sicken many.

In the state of Arizona there have been over 4,600 confirmed cases of influenza, with 600 cases in Pima County alone.

The flu has affected many Southern Arizona families including Rebecca Aguirre's without warning. She has been caring for her daughter at the University of Arizona Medical Center for four days now.

Aguirre explains, "It hit so hard and fast there is nothing you could do."

Aguirre says her daughter even received the flu vaccine in October showing how infectious this flu strain can be.

"You just have to keep praying and hope they pull out because you can't lose hope," says Aguirre.

Dr. Sean Elliot, Medical Director of Infectious Prevention at the University of Arizona Medical Networks, describes this year's strain as especially vicious.

"The primary circulating strain of flu, which is Influenza A, is a more virulent meaning worse strain than we've seen in the past couple of year," explains Elliot.

Flu strains may differ from year to year but prevention always stays the same. Elliot says number one is hand hygiene followed by cough etiquette; always cough in the crook of your arm.

There are several different types of flu at any given time. Even if you've had the flu this year the vaccine is always a good idea because there are a couple of other strains out there you could be protected by.

Elliot says, "If you get vaccinated this season and you still get the flu it's going to be what we call an attenuated case, meaning much milder, much shorter in length of symptoms."

This year's flu season is expected to last longer than normal so if you haven't had your flu shot yet it's never too late. For more information about where to get a flu vaccine visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website here.

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