EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We're only about halfway through the flu season and health experts say it is likely only going to get worse.
The Centers for Disease Control say the elderly and children are at the highest risk for influenza so the Eau Claire City-County Health Department recommends parents watch out for symptoms, especially if you have children in daycare.
Director Lieske Giese explained, “With young kids I think it's most important to pay attention to what's going on with them. If they have an extremely high fever and especially if they're not getting better to definitely seek medical care.”
Across Wisconsin more than 600 people have been hospitalized and in Eau Claire that number has surpassed sixty.
Owner of Days Gone by Early Learning center Loralie Wallerius knows that in order to have happy and healthy kids a clean daycare is needed.
“If they're sick or not doing well then keep them home, don't push it,” said Wallerius.” “At the center there’s lots of handwashing, sanitizing, disinfecting toys every day. Things that go into mouths and get touched by kiddos get washed extra during the day.”
The center says during peak flu season everybody works together to stop the spread of germs
“Little kids pick up everything. They put things in their mouths, they spread thing just from their hands to touching other kids, sneezing on them, coughing on them,” added Wallerius. “It spreads really quickly when you have children in close contact with each other. So, just really, really being vigilant about washing hands and keeping things sanitized and clean cuts down the chance of spreading things.”
The health department says across the U.S. 17 children have died from influenza this flu season.
Giese said with the spread of influenza likely to continue increasing it is still a good idea to get a flu shot to protect yourself and others if you haven't.
She explained, “Many people think at this point of the season it isn't worth it anymore but we will see influenza for a number of weeks longer. It's normally between an 11-20 week season and we're only in the 10th week so if we've got another 10 weeks of flu, getting your flu shot is a good thing.”
In a statement from Mayo Clinic Health System the hospital says while there are no extra restrictions for visitors at this time patients are always asked to wear a mask if they have flu-like symptoms as are those who are visiting someone who have flu-like symptoms.