The second season of influenza has begun making the round in southwestern Saskatchewan.

Influenza B had spiked positivity rates from 5.6 per cent in early January back up to 8 per cent over the last three weeks.

Dr. David Torr, the medical health officer for the southwest, said the decline to begin the year can be attributed to influenza A dying out before the second strain took over. 

"A lot of the cases are out in the community and weekly emergency department visits for all respiratory illnesses have dropped somewhat in this last week," he said. "But community activity is still really high."

The difference between type A and B is subtle, with the latter being the first strain to begin in November and fades off around New Year's when the second strain kicks in as the illness mutates. The symptoms are extremely similar too.

"That's why our vaccines contain elements both against influenza A and against influenza B," he said. "So far this season, the vaccine is matching quite well with what is circulating."

The best ways to fend off influenza, which Torr said is much more severe than a cold, include resting, staying warm, and hydrated. Although sometimes the effects overwhelm individuals, and he recommends heading to the closest physician or hospital in those circumstances.

"There's no actual formula if you're really feeling bad, don't wait," he said. "If you're really feeling out of it, don't wait."