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Second wave of influenza may hit Utah, nation

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Health officials worry a second wave of influenza cases could hit the country.

Last week, one in 20 doctor visits nationwide were related to the flu – a very high rate for this time of year. Usually, by early March we expect rates of influenza to start to go down.

The Utah Department of Health says it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Immunization program manager Rich Lakin says it works, although different people respond differently.

“It just depends on how the uptake was. It may have been a little different than someone else, or they may have been sick for only two days instead of four days for example,” he said.

“When they get exposed, then they could get influenza, because they may only have 50 percent protection as compared to the other person who ran 100 percent protection. So everybody’s uptake is different,” he said.

And that different uptake depends on a variety of things.

And this is the real flu, not a flu-like cold or illness.

“If you truly get influenza, and we are talking influenza, then you are down and out in bed, you have a high fever, you have a cough, every inch of your body aches,” said Lakin.

Scientists do their best to guess the year’s flu strain when they make up the flu shot, and so far this season has been better than last year’s deadly time. But the second wave could be more aggressive than the first.

Cases seemed to dip with a warmer weather spell, but temperatures will drop again in Utah.