Flu Season Has Arrived

Health officials say vaccine should be effective against this winter's flu strain

The flu season has apparently arrived in the East Bay and it has the potential to be a doozy.

A strong flu strain known as H3N2 has been circulating on the East Coast, according to an article in the Contra Costa Times.

That strain has reportedly made its way to California. The Bay Area is one of two spots in the state where outbreaks have been reported.

Kaiser medical centers are reporting an uptick in patients with the flu coming into their facilities, according to the Times article.

Medical officials say this season's flu shot is a good match for this winter's flu strains, including the H3N2 variation.

Kaiser has a fact sheet online about the flu. It answers questions such as whether you can catch the flu from a flu shot and how serious the flu can be.

Kirsten January 11, 2013 at 03:58 PM
If what is going around now is that flu, then the flu shot didn't help me any. Everyone in my house got sick, I got it the worst and I was the only one who had a flu shot.
Tim January 11, 2013 at 07:22 PM
What you had was likely not even influenza. In addition there are four predominant strains circulating. There are two Influenza A strains (one subtype H3N2 and one H1N1) and two different Influenza B strains. The current vaccine is a good match for both Influenza A but only one of the B. There are other influenza strains out there as well. RNA viruses like influenza are constantly changing. Reassortment of the RNA segments makes completely new virus particles. The result is that depending on the genetic makeup, the antibodies you gain from the vaccine (which is comprised of three dead, or attenuated virus strains depending on which you get) may not offer much protection. It's still advisable to get the vaccine, because you may get some protection which would likely make your symptoms less severe if you go become infected. Also, remember, when you get the flu shot, you aren't instantly protected.... it takes about two weeks to develop enough antibodies to be consistent with immunity.
Carolyn Zichterman January 11, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Yes there is a nasty cold going around. Norovirus is also going around in some workplaces. I'm not sure if you are covered if you got this year's flu shot. Does anyone know? Thanks.
Tim January 11, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Like Influenza, Noroviruses are also single strand RNA viruses but they are very different. Influenza causes respiratory infection where as Noroviruses infect the GI tract. No flu shot will prevent infection from Noroviruses. However, Noroviruses are mostly spread by fecal-oral routes.. people not washing their hands properly or at all... food handlers are a great vector. Wash your hands often and watch where you eat. Other people at high risk include those living in close quarters with others... cruise ships, college dorms, etc.


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