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Flu strain from the 90s poses threat

Written by on February 17, 2020

Photo courtesy to OSF Healthcare Facebook page

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.- There are misconceptions about the Coronavirus and local health leaders stress the seasonal flu is far more concerning.

In Illinois, health facilities are mostly treating the unusual Influenza B-Victoria strain of flu virus that hasn’t been seen since the 90s.

Media Relations Coordinator Colleen Reynolds said, “You still have plenty of time to get vaccinated because this strain may last into springtime.”

“Even if we find out next week that the vaccine that we have isn’t as effective on some of the strains we are seeing, we do know that getting the flu shot reduces the severity of your symptoms,” said Reynolds.

This virus is in our neighborhood and is attacking everyone. Over 14,000 people have died from this strain of flu. In fact there was a case in Illinois this year of a Glenwood High School student named Joey Sandhaas. 

According to Reynolds, the flu strain turned into pneumonia, where Sanhaas was eventually put into a medically induced coma due to his organs failing and no oxygen flowing to his body.

Sandhaas passed away on Monday, Feb. 10 due to this strain.

You are not exempt from the flu if you are young and eating healthy.

“People are dying from this flu strain. They are saying that this flu season is going to be extended and will last longer,” said Reynolds.

Anti-viral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have flu infection or suspected flu infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications, such as people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

“When people say, ‘I never get sick.’ My response is: ‘Until you do, and you better hope it’s not this flu. It is a bad one,” said Reynolds.