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It’s not over yet: Flu bucking the trend with unusual late peak this season

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EVERETT, Wash. --  Don’t let the warm temperatures fool you, flu season is not over.

“It's nice out, people don’t think about the sickness coming,” said Jenn Haigh, a clerk at a 76 gas station here.

For Haigh, sanitizing after every transaction is her best defense against the flu.

“I always sanitize, even if I can’t get to the bathroom,” Haigh said.

It's a good habit but doctors want people to take it a step further and get the flu shot, even this late in the season.

“Let us not be complacent; there is still time to get a flu vaccine for this year,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, of the Snohomish County Health District.

The Washington State Department of Health says they are seeing a lot more cases of the flu at a time when they should be tapering off.

“It’s is occurring later, this is unusual,” Goldbaum said.

A chart from Snohomish County Health shows the rise of cases going into April.

In previous years, the flu peaked in February.

“Make sure you're washing your hands, covering your cough, staying home if you feel sick,” Goldbaum said.

Goldbaum added that if you’ve been sick already with the flu, you are still not in the clear if you didn`t get a flu vaccine.

There are four strains of the flu going around this year.

“Having one strain of the flu doesn`t necessarily provide full protection against others,” Goldbaum said.

Statewide, hundreds have been hospitalized and more than 40 confirmed deaths from the flu so far, including a child in Kitsap County. In January, Q13 News spoke with a grieving mom who described her last moments with her daughter.

“They let me hold her for hours; they were so kind to us,” Pegy Lowery said.

That`s why doctors are warning others to stay vigilant.

“Flu season is not over,” Goldbaum said.

Doctors say the hospitalization rates and the death toll last year from the flu was devastatingly high because the vaccine was not a good match. This year’s vaccine is more effective, they say.