Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Influenza on the rise in Washington; health officials say "get vaccinated now"

Influenza on the rise in Washington; health officials say

It's much more severe than sniffles and a cough.

Last year, experts warned that H3N2 would cause a rough flu season, too.

The nasal spray vaccine provides good protection for children against influenza and is most effective if given before flu starts to circulate. People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

However, Kristy Wright, Manager of Infectious Disease with Waterloo Region Public Health, says there's nothing unusual about the roughly 80 local flu cases reported this season.

We know you've been busy with the holidays, spending time in airports and on road trips to see family and friends. He said it's only cold weather that can be connected to more illnesses.

In Yavapai County, over 600 cases were reported in the last month, but as many were not lab tested, the numbers may be considerably higher, said epidemiologist Stephen Everett with Yavapai County Community Health Services.

While we expect flu season every year, this year it came sooner than normal.

The CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months, unless you have a specific medical reason to skip it (such as an allergy to the vaccine). The states reportable deaths are only a fraction of those who actually die from the flu.

On the Mainland, the flu season runs from October to May, but Hawaii gets flu year-round, according to Hawaii health officials.

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More information on preventing the flu and weekly updates on flu activity in Washington is on the agency website. "This year so far in MI, three children have died from influenza".

Schaffner advised those with the flu to avoid contact with others. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Germs spread this way. Try to use a tissue to cover your mouth and do not forget to dispose of it sadly in a nearby bin.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

The proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness increased from 4.9 to 5.8 percent.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs may be a treatment option.

"If you haven't received the vaccine, it's not too late to get it".

"Keep in mind that it takes two weeks for the flu shot to kick in".

"As of today, there's no shortage of influenza vaccine in California". Data will be available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February about vaccine effectiveness.

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