What is this flu all about? The number of cases in Michigan is staggering and they seem to be on the rise. CSCS is passionate about serving the disabled and providing them disability support, but we want everyone to stay healthy this winter. It has been a rough flu season and it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end!

This year’s flu is shaping up to be one of the worst in years. The influenza A (H3N2) appears to be the most prevalent this year. It is particularly nasty, with more severe symptoms including fever and body aches. Another influenza B virus subtype also is circulating. It isn’t as severe, but it isn’t any fun either. Flu season in the U.S. typically starts in October and ends in May, with December-February as the peak time.

This season’s flu vaccine is likely to be less effective than in previous years. U.S. flu experts say they won’t fully know how effective this season’s vaccine is until the season is over. Vaccines are less protective if strains are different than predicted and if unexpected mutations occur.

You should get the flu shot anyways. Even if it is not a good match to the virus not circulating, the vaccine helps ease the severity and duration of symptoms if you come down with the flu. Studies show that for children, a flu shot can significantly reduce the risk of dying from the flu. High-dose vaccines are recommended for the elderly, who are exceptionally vulnerable.

Basic precautions may spare you from days in bed. As much as possible, avoid people who are sick. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. If you are sick, cover your cough and stay home from work or school.

Don’t mistake flu symptoms for a common cold. The main signs of the flu are fever and body aches that accompany cough and congestion. If you feel you are having trouble breathing, or if your fever cannot be controlled with Tylenol or Advil, check with your doctor immediately. Tamiflu is often prescribed. But it’s effectiveness is in question and it is usually very costly.