Flu cases are on the rise, and health officials are urging people to take precautions. Simple steps, including getting a flu shot, help protect against the flu.
There have been 161 influenza cases to date in Wisconsin this flu season and 95 influenza-associated hospitalizations, including eight children and 78 adults ages 50 and older. Of those hospitalized with influenza, 63 percent were ages 65 years and older.
“Getting a flu shot is still one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family and friends against the flu and potential complications,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “There are also many simple steps people can take now to avoid spreading the flu to family and friends, and to keep from getting it themselves, including practicing good hand washing hygiene, covering your cough, and not sharing drinking cups and straws.”
Influenza can range from mild to severe and in some cases can cause life-threatening complications. Symptoms can come on quickly and include fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches and tiredness. If someone does get the flu after getting vaccinated, it is more likely to be a milder case.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone aged six months and older should be vaccinated annually. To schedule a flu shot, contact your health care provider, pharmacy, local public health department or tribal health clinic, or go to the CDC website to find a flu vaccination center near you.
Health officials encourage you to remember these steps for protecting against the flu:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
- Use your own drinking cups and straws.
- Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
- Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
- If you think you have the flu, call your doctor. Stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
*Department of Health Services
Contact Jill Drier, director of health services, for more information and to schedule your flu shot today!