Flu season could be stronger, more severe: 'Influenza is gathering steam'

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EUGENE, Ore. - An epidemic that happens every year is now fast approaching and spreading.

Flu season started in October, and peaks in December and January, but patterns in the past show that the peak can happen at anytime.

“We peaked here in Oregon in 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 last year in late December, early January but the intervening year we didn't peak until late March,” said Lane County Public Health Senior Official, Patrick Luedtke.

The U.S. can predict how flu season is going to look by monitoring the flu season in the Southern Hemisphere.

In Australia just this year, more Australians had the flu, with the more severe strain H3N2.

“It basically means that influenza is gathering steam,” said Luedtke.

Now wide spread in several locations across the country, making Oregon one of those locations.

“In the national level, we have 5 reporting levels of influenza and widespread is the most diseases," said Luedtke. "We do have small little pockets in Oregon at the time and that meets the widespread category."

Influenza is different than the common cold, in that it affects your entire body.

”The flu can cause big severe muscle aches, joint aches, fatigue, extreme fatigue in addition to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea,” said Luedtke.

Health officials say the best thing to do is to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others around you that might not be able to have the vaccine.

“There are certain groups that cant get vaccinated. Kids less than 6 months can't get the flu vaccine - they're counting on all the rest of us to be immune so we don't spread it to them,” said Luedtke.

Dr. Luedtke says vaccination is important especially from an ever changing virus like the flu.

“There are really good vaccines, and you get immunity for life. Influenza isn't that way, we need it every year because the virus keep mutating.”

According to Health Officials, only time will tell when the flu hits its peak here in Lane County, but it's better to be ready and prepared than not.

“We want people to get vaccinated and be prepared for the whole season whatever the worst fight occurs,” said Luedtke.

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