Influenza cases and hospitalizations are on the rise


Your Best Protection is to Get a Flu Shot – It’s Not Too Late!

Wisconsin is currently experiencing widespread cases of influenza. The number of persons seeking hospital emergency room treatment and being admitted to the hospital for influenza-like symptoms has significantly increased over the past weeks. There have been a total of 385 flu-related hospitalizations for infants, children and adults in Wisconsin since Oct 5, 2012; one child has died.

Influenza or "flu" is a disease that is easily spread to others by sneezing or coughing and affects the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza symptoms often begin suddenly with fever, chills, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, stuffy nose and aches in the muscles and joints. Symptoms appear 1–3 days after being in close contact with someone with influenza; however, people infected with influenza can spread the disease to others about 24 hours before they become ill. People may also catch the flu by touching their mouth or nose after touching something with the virus on it, such as doorknobs, tables or an infected person’s dirty hand. The influenza virus can live on some surfaces for up to 24 hours.

If you develop flu symptoms, contact your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe a medication that can help your symptoms to be less severe, but this medication works best if started within 48 hours of the beginning of symptoms. Otherwise, bed rest, drinking increased amounts of liquids and taking pain relievers to reduce the
fever and body aches is recommended.

Most people who develop the flu recover in about a week. However; young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions – such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system – can get much sicker. Flu can cause high fever and pneumonia and make existing medical conditions worse. It can cause diarrhea and seizures in children. Each year, thousands of people die from influenza, and even more require hospitalization.

The best way to prevent influenza is to get a flu shot each year. Anyone 6 months of age and older can get a flu shot. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but helps prevent spreading influenza to others.

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