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Spring Flu Or Allergies? Influenza Season Not Over Yet

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It might not feel like it, but the calendar says it's spring. So we should be done with this year's nasty flu season, right?

Not so fast. The flu is still with us. As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reports, it's not to be confused with spring allergy season.

Flu season peaked in February and has decrease dramatically in the Tri-State Area, but flu seasons have long tails and we may see cases even into May.

There's no question this has been a rough flu season – probably the worst in a decade. But while the worst is behind us, there's still some flu virus out there.

What's changed in the mix of virus type. Earlier this season, influenza A viruses were causing most of the cases, while now the B type of virus is pre-dominating.

"Flu B generally is on the same level of severity as flu A, especially for adults. There may be some data to suggest that in very young children, flu B could be more severe," said Dr. Brandon Godbout, of Lenox Hill Hospital.

Still, the overall numbers are way down, and even better news is this year's flu vaccine is a better match and should be more protective against the B type flu.

"It's never too late to get that the vaccine," Brandon said.

While the flu season is winding down, spring allergy season is just kicking into high gear. Tree pollen levels are moderate right now, but a few warm days will really spike those numbers.

So how do you tell the difference between the flu and less serious allergies?

"If you have high fevers, severe body aches. severe headaches and you just feel wiped out, that sounds more like the flu," said Brandon. "If you have a lot of runny nose, stuffy nose, congestion, sneezing and cough, that sounds more like common seasonal allergies."

Since the flu and those pesky springtime colds are lurking, remember to wash your hands early and often and cover those coughs and sneezes.

If your child is having trouble breathing or is getting dehydrated, that's the time to see your doctor. Even late-season flu can be serious.

And of course, get the flu shot.

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