State health officials: Flu season starting early in Wisconsin

The flu season has started early in Wisconsin, according to state health officials.

From September 1-September 22, there have been 19 confirmed cases of the flu and eight hospitalizations, compared to just five confirmed cases and two hospitalizations during the same time period last year.

"We want to encourage people to get their flu shots as soon as possible," said Karen McKeown, state health officer.

The flu shot is safe and effective for people six months old and older, health officials said.

However, there are people who are at a greater risk of getting the flu and could have serious health complications if they do get the virus. 

Health officials strongly encourage the following people to get a flu shot:

  • Anyone 65 years old and older
  • People with chronic health issues like heart disease and diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are around other people at work or school

"By protecting ourselves with a flu shot, we're also helping to protect our family, friends, co-workers and the rest of our community," McKeown said.

Health officials have also suggested other ways to protect yourself from the flu, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve
  • Never sharing drinking cups, straws or utensils
  • Frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces
  • Staying home when sick

You can find more information about the 2017-18 flu season at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website here.

 

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