What You Need To Know About NYC's New Flu Epidemic

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COLD
Now that May is in full swing, we're finally beginning to feel a shift in the soul-crushing, depression-inducing winter that made all of us on the East Coast (and around the country) want to stab ourselves in the eye. But, just when we thought it was safe to go outside again, here comes a warning from the CDC, putting quite a damper on our spring spirit. Turns out, flu season is far from over: A new form of the flu, called influenza B, is hitting NYC and the Northeast with a vengeance.

While the agency reports that cases of the main flu strain, influenza A, have dropped as the typical "flu season" has run its course, an unusually high number of Americans are catching influenza B, a severe form of the flu virus. As of last week, influenza B accounted for 55% percent of all flu cases nationwide, and was particularly prevalent in the northeastern U.S. Gothamist reports that some New York City hospitals are noticing a spike in serious flu cases — which is highly unusual for this time of year.

What does this mean for those in the Northeast? Because influenza B is a different strain of the virus from influenza A, even if you've already had the flu this year, you could still be at risk for catching the new strain. But, if you got your flu shot, you're covered for both strains. Maybe worth a stop at CVS on the way home?