Valley pediatrician: Flu season arrived later this year

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Flu season is usually wrapping up around this time of year, but you might have noticed that there's a lot of people still battling the virus. So, why is the flu still hanging around? We spoke to a pediatrician who says the flu's arrived later in the season than normal.

Not only is the flu peaking later, but it's also lasting longer. According to pediatrician Elizabeth McKenna, she says she's seen an uptick in cases.

"The flu is usually worse in February [or] in March, " Dr. McKenna said. "But this year, it started slow and it peaked later. Usually [with the] flu, you feel sick, body aches, fever, respiratory difficulties, bad cough, congestion, [and] vomiting.

Dr. McKenne says she's seen more flu patients in the past week or two than she's had in the previous month. In one day, she saw four cases of the flu - one as young as 4-months-old.

This is much different from last year's strain, which was the worst flu season with record numbers. It started early and ended in April.

"This year, 47 to 50 perfect are efficacious," Dr. McKenna said. "Every year, they base the vaccine on strains that they have on the yeast and they base what they're going to mix the new strain with."

While it was just 50 percent efficacious, McKenna says getting the flu shot is the best way to avoid the flu. You can get the flu shot up until the end of the season.

"In terms of preventing other respiratory illnesses, handwashing [and] coughing in your elbow - if you know people are sick, try not to be in their respiratory space," Dr. McKenna said. "Colds and/or bronchitis is started by someone sneezing on you."

Dr. McKenna says you can still get your flue shot. This season is expected to last until at least the end of May.