Alaska January 03, 2020
Doctors Have Warned That Flu Season In Alaska Has Started Early With A Unique Strain
Flu season in Alaska arrived early this year at Thanksgiving, and it’s still going strong. A strain not usually seen this early in the season is making its rounds, and Alaskans of all ages are getting sick. Kids have been getting hit the hardest however, and there’s been a large spike in school absences in the past month, making the holiday season a little bit slower for everyone!
Every year Alaska gets hit with the flu virus, and due to our tourist season, it can last as late as May.
Flu season is officially in swing when a large number of doctors visits, for at least three weeks, are attributed to flu-like symptoms. This year the season kicked off nice and early, with the three weeks of doctors visits spiking before Thanksgiving.
Usually influenza A hits early in the winter season, and influenza B hits later on, after the holidays.
This year is unusual because the huge uptick of flu cases are almost entirely the influenza B strain. Influenza B is actually a part of the flu shot. If you received your flu shot, you may skip getting sick entirely!
There were so many cases of flu sickness among students, that the week before Thanksgiving one school in Anchorage saw more than 50% of its student body absent.
At Rogers Park Elementary School, with over 500 students, 269 students called out sick. Over 13 employees also called out, and the entire school was sanitized over Thanksgiving break to try to halt the spread of the flu.
Nationwide, influenza B commonly infects children.
This strain is primarily seen in children, with 0-4 years accounting for 46% of reported cases, and 5-24 accounting for 60% of cases. It's not considered dangerous to older generations.
By early December, the United States had already seen an estimated 1.7 million cases of flu this year.
Anchorage flu rates have skyrocketed by the Christmas holidays. Northern Alaska and the Matanuska Valley are also seeing a higher rate of Influenza B in the last two weeks.
There are great ways to prevent getting the flu if you haven't yet gotten sick.
Doctors recommend an annual flu shot to reduce your chances of getting influenza. If you do end up getting sick after the shot, the sickness will be less severe.
The best ways to keep yourself healthy include washing your hands frequently, covering your cough, and staying away from large crowds.
If you do happen to get sick, make sure to stay out of public areas if possible. Go home, wrap yourself in blankets, and practice some hygge and self-care. As some parts of Alaska now have DoorDash and GrubHub, order your favorite chicken noodle soup and have it delivered!
Have you gotten the flu this season? Did you shake it quickly? Do you have any tips for staying healthy? Share them with us in the comments below!
If you’re trying to beat the winter blues this season, make sure to read about
14 Things No One Tells You About Surviving An Alaska Winter!
Address: Alaska, USA