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Flu season at its highest ever

22 December 2017

The Hill Country's off-again, on-again winter weather is the prime time to get influenza and be calling work to say you're sick. Peak influenza activity in the USA usually occurs during December through February, but there can be substantial influenza activity up until the month of May. The historical comparison does not include flu-like illnesses.

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. It can lead to serious illnesses such as bronchitis, otitis media (particularly in children), pneumonia; and in some cases meningitis and encephalitis, and even death.

In a new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that 12 states are experiencing widespread flu activity, up from 7 states the previous week.

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The traditional flu season lasts from October through May.

The McLean County Health Department recently shared 10 tips for staying healthy during this cold and flu season. Lewis County and other areas experienced a spike in cases. "This is a tragic reminder that the flu still kills", said county public health official Cameron Kaiser, MD, in a statement.

With gastrointestinal illnesses, patients are advised to remain home for 48 hours after the last symptoms.

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The flu can be especially unsafe for young children, pregnant women, people 65 or older and those who have underlying health conditions like asthma or chronic diseases. For children, medical care should be sought if they are unable to eat, have trouble breathing, if there are no tears when crying or if there are significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.

During the 2016-2017 flu season, state officials say there were 56 flu-related deaths and more than 800 hospitalizations.

Vaccines are available at doctor's offices, pharmacies, and local health departments. York said the clinic bills nearly every insurance provider, including Medicare and Medicaid.

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Schneeman said one population in particular should consider getting a flu shot. So are those who are in close contact with high-risk groups.

Flu season at its highest ever