Four strains of flu are sweeping across the nation

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- If you've already had the flu this season, you probably thought you were in the clear but doctors at Augusta University Medical Center say that is not the case.

“Getting one of those types of flu, flu A, for instance, does not protect you from getting flu B, getting flu from type A H3N2 does not protect you from flu type A H1N1, subtype H1N1, so yes you can get flu multiple times in the same season," Dr. James Wilde said.

Wilde is a professor of Emergency Medicine, he says there are four strains of flu people can catch this season.

“We've always got some circulation of flu A and flu B and in fact, there are even some subtypes of flu A so we have two subtypes of flu A circulating and subtypes of flu B circulating so there's actually, if you want to think of it this way, four different types," Wilde continued.

Dr. Wilde says your immune system responds differently to all four types of the flu, which is why you can catch each of them.

"The different types of flu are different viruses and the immune response is different for each one of those viruses so you will have an immune response to flu A H3N2 which will not protect you against flu A H1N1," he continued.

The best way to keep from getting all four strains is simple, Dr. Wilde says to get the flu shot and stay away from sick people.

“The best way to prevent flu is to stay away from sick people, the next best thing after that is to use lots of hand sanitizer throughout the flu season because it is spread primarily by contact, it's not so much people coughing in your face, its contact," Wilde said.

Dr. Wilde says using alcohol to disinfect areas around you will kill most of the germs, so using Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer does work. But, he says the most effective remedy for your hands is using soap and warm water for about 60 seconds, it's more effective than hand sanitizer.