Here comes the flu, and it’s late

It’s been nearly 30 years since the flu has arrived so late in the season, but alas, shown up it has and California is feeling it on a widespread scale.

Mild weather is one possible reason given by experts for the delay, but the exact reason is unknown.

The good news is that strains are similar to last season so that many who received shots or got sick last year may have built up better immunity to fight it off. How long the season will last is unknown and experts still suggest getting a shot, especially if you’re at risk.

Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease told the Merc reports from around the country suggest flu activity is expected to pick up over the next few weeks.

Since it takes about two weeks to develop immunity, experts suggest you don’t wait to get your flu shot.

Though the number of people getting sick from the flu is expected to begin rising, reports indicate this flu season will probably be mild in terms of overall numbers. This is not to suggest the symptoms will be mild for those unlucky enough to get it.

Engineer Andrew Cowan, who did not get a shot, told the Merc he suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, chills and fatigue associated with the flu. Many of his co-workers also came down with it too, and Cowan added that “It was the worst flu I can remember having.”

Needless to say he’s thinking about getting a flu shot next year.

To complicate matters, the Bay Area is also dealing with a norovirus outbreak. While the flu and norovirus are not the same, they share symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect you are dealing with either one, as always, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.