HEALTH WATCH: Flu season hits Fairbanks

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Division of Public Health released its latest version of seasonal flu activity in the state. The Alaska Division of Public Health compiles data weekly showing statewide laboratory test results of influenza throughout the state.

Carrie Edmonson is a nurse consultant in the influenza department for the state of Alaska. She spoke about the different strains and when they are frequently reported throughout the year.

"Right now we are seeing more influenza AH 1, which is normal for this time of year. Alaska usually sees like the AH 3 or B influenza more during the summer months," said Edmonson.

According to the CDC, there are four types of influenza viruses: A,B,C and D. Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter around the United States. Influenza type C infections generally cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics. Influenza D viruses primarily affected cattle and are not known to infect people.

"The spikes that we are seeing, it's kind of a normal thing. We are in flu season. If you look at the first graph, you'll see last year this trend is the same. It's just going up and up and we've actually had a very low season," she said.

Edmonson says what is being shown on the graph is numbers going up and that's due to an influx in reports that have recently come in.

"Flu is kind of funny in Alaska because it's not a reportable, it's not a mandatory reportable, so it's just providers who decide they want to report. So it just seemed like we got an influx of reporting in this last week and that's why you saw that big spike," she said.

Edmonson says it's never to late too get your flu shot. She says providers will have flu shots up until June and young children and the elderly and those with a weak immune system are the most at risk. Anyone feeling flu-like symptoms are advised to stay home and take some preventative measures such as covering your mouth and washing your hands.

Information can be found at the Alaska Division of Public Health website.