It's been a long and active flu season across the nation this year including in the Badger state. The question is when will it die-down? Pat Harrington of the Sawyer County Health Department in Northwest Wisconsin says the peak flu season in the state is usually "around March and April" so, according to her, influenza rates should start declining soon.
This year's influenza season has been especially active because people aren't as well protected against the virus. Harrington says a less than ideal flu-vaccine was administered to patients for this season. The problem is the viruses covered in the vaccine differ from the strain of the flu that's circulating. So how do officials go about predicting what strains to cover year to year? Harrington says culturing is done right now in the area where the flu seems to spread from: Asia. Officials look at flu-trends in Asia and can get an idea of what to expect in the states. Still, the process is far from exact as many found out this season.
Harrington says that flu-shots are still being recommended and this year's vaccine "covers 3 strains of the flu" offering cross-protection from some "2,000 different viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms." Basic practices such as washing your hands, covering your cough, keeping common surfaces clean, and staying home when sick are other easy ways to prevent catching the bug this season.