Ah, maybe we all ought to think again on that one.
The CDC says the milder strain of influenza that had been nailing people from just after Thanksgiving through early February is now being replaced by a stronger, nastier strain. It’s one that makes people a lot sicker than the previous circulating bug.
The report from the CDC came out within the past few days, but I think those of us who work in emergency rooms, clinics, or offices have noticed something a little unusual over since mid-February. That is, people who were down for the count with fever, chills, coughing … and just a general position of being laid out on the stretcher or exam table when we went into examine them. Sicker than what we were used to.
And these folks were generally lighting up with a positive Influenza A test.
Now here’s where I’m going with this one— the earlier germ was an Influenza A strain—an H1N1.
And so is this new guy. It’s an “A” and is classified as an H3N2.
The problem is our general testing can’t tell the difference between the two. It can usually only say it’s an “A” or a flu “B”. Yet our patients were toxically sicker, many with pneumonia or dehydration, as well as a sky-high fever that just wouldn’t quit. We are talking easily 103-104 readings here.
The number of people who can’t crawl out of bed has jumped, as has the number of people we have admitted to the hospital. And the story of “onset” is universal: “I was feeling okay one minute, and then like I got hit by a truck the next”.