Influenza B is a virus that typically affects children and young adults. It is responsible for more than 40 percent of all flu cases reported this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While influenza A viruses can potentially cause more severe illness, most people who contract influenza B experience milder symptoms. The CDC recommends vaccinating against both types of flu viruses each year to protect yourself from getting sick or spreading it to someone else. Vaccines can help lower your risk of contracting either type of virus, as well as any complications associated with them.
An annual vaccine may also reduce hospitalizations due to the flu by up to 85 percent per season among those six months and older. In addition to getting a vaccination, everyone must practice good hygiene habits like regular handwashing, covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoiding close contact with those who are ill, staying home when they’re sick, and wearing face masks if needed when out in public places. These simple practices can keep us safe from influenza B and other infectious diseases too!
The percentage of tests positive for influenza B has increased from 0.12% the week ending Jan. 7 to 0.36% the week ending March 25, while the percentage of tests positive for influenza A has declined from 8.58% to 0.58%. These figures are encouraging, as they indicate that the flu season may be nearing its end. However, it is still important to remain vigilant and practice good hygiene habits such as washing hands with soap and water often, covering one’s nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home if you have a fever or other signs of illness, and getting vaccinated against influenza every year. By taking these precautions, we can reduce our risk of contracting the virus and help protect ourselves from the further spread of disease.
“This is something we typically see and happens every year,” said an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr John Brownstein, to ABC News. “Influenza B tends to appear later in the season after influenza A has been circulating, causing outbreaks across multiple states.” Though some states are seeing higher prevalences of Influenza B than others, everyone must remember that getting a flu shot is still one of the best ways to prevent catching either strain.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people aged six months and older get vaccinated annually against the flu virus. Even now, Quadrivalent vaccines protect against four different strains of influenza: two types A and two types B — making immunization more comprehensive than ever before.
Flu season usually runs until spring, and the CDC advises people to continue taking preventative steps. This includes covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands often with soap and water, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth when you’re out in public. Additionally, if you feel sick around other people, try not to spread germs by staying home from work, school, or social gatherings.