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Mason researcher says vaccines are the best way to stop the spread of the flu

February 5, 2018

A George Mason University researcher says it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already.

Gary Kreps, a University Distinguished Professor of Communication and director of Mason’s Center for Health and Risk Communication, says the vaccine remains the best prevention strategy for reducing the spread of the flu and lessening its toll when people do contract it.

“The more people who receive the flu vaccination, the more resistant we will all be to the spread of the flu,” he said.

First emerging in Hong Kong in 1968, the H3N2 flu strain is the most prevalent this season. It is one of four flu strains, but it is regarded as more dangerous than the H1NI, Victoria or Yamagata strains, Kreps said.

The flu vaccine currently being used addresses all four strains, but best counters the H1NI flu that has accounted for roughly 20-25 percent of the flu cases so far, Kreps said.

Flu symptoms often include headaches, fevers and body aches. Anybody not feeling well during this flu season should seek medical help, Kreps advised. Those not feeling well should stay at home and rest, take anti-viral medications and remain well-hydrated.

The flu is especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems and chronic health problems, as well other at-risk groups such as elderly people and infants.

“It is important for everyone to get the flu vaccine to limit the spread of the flu,” Kreps said. “Even if healthy, strong people don’t get sick from the flu, they can spread the flu to weaker and more vulnerable people.”

Gary Kreps can be reached at 703-993-1094 or gkreps@gmu.edu.

For more information, contact John Hollis at 703-993-8781 or jhollis2@gmu.edu.

About George Mason 

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 36,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility.