Keeping Kids Safe: Salem doctor talks about rise of influenza B cases

Keeping Kids Safe

This is the first time in 27 years that influenza B has dominated the season

(WYTV) – Flu season typically peaks in February, and this year is shaping up to be a severe one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the virus seems to have impacted children the hardest.

We talked to a local physician to learn more about how it’s affecting kids in the Valley, especially since the high number of flu cases so far in 2020 has doctors worried.

“What we are seeing now locally, at the state level and nationally too is more cases of what we call influenza B,” said Dr. Mike Sevilla, Family Practice Center of Salem.

This is the first time in 27 years that influenza B has dominated the season, affecting kids the most.

According to the CDC, there have been 32 pediatric deaths reported in the United States since the start of the season this past fall, 21 of which were caused by the strain.

“We have the capacity in our office to test for strains A and B and we are seeing more B in our office and the local hospitals,” Sevilla said.

The outbreak has left parents wondering what they can do to protect their families against the flu and what to do if their child is diagnosed.

“What I hear from a lot of my parents is, ‘My child does not look like themselves.’ So if you have anything like that as far as fever, cough, chills, not eating as well, getting dehydrated… get checked out by your doctor right away,” Sevilla said.

Experts suggest the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu and its potentially serious complications.

“I still tell my patients it’s never, never too late to get your flu shot. If people start to get ill, they start to get sick — careful handwashing, cough into your elbow, that type of thing. If people are feeling sick maybe think about not going to work or not going to school or not going to those events,” Sevilla said.

Again, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

Flu season can last well into March and April.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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