With all the coughing and sneezing going around you’d think we were in the middle of a horrible flu year.

We are.

Blame it on the strain.

“The strain of the flu that’s going around has chemical properties that make it more formidable,” says Dr. Edward Rensimer, a Houston-based expert in infectious disease.

For the past several years the variety of virus being spread annually was known as “B” strain.  The vaccines you’ve been faithfully getting each fall have been inoculating you against the worst damage most types of B strain flu will do to you.

“There is some difference in the actual type of flu going around than our immune systems have been conditioned to over the past few years with the flu vaccines we’ve been giving for the last six years,” he says.

For whatever reason, this year, we’re not only getting strain A, it’s an H3 kind of strain A, known to cause more serious cases.  And we don’t really have a wide reservoir of antibodies prepared to cope with the onslaught.  Cough. Cough.  Oh, the agony of it all.

 “This year is going to a radical departure, with both children and deaths of people you don’t expect, and I think we’re going to see a spike in flu related mortality,” Dr. Rensimer tells KTRH News.

The only positive thing is that Strain A responds very well to Tamiflu, a prescription medication that can mediate the severity of symptoms if taken at the beginning of onset, so it’s worth knowing the symptoms of flu so that you can catch it early.