Nearly 900 Missourians have tested positive for the flu this season, compared to about 250 cases during the same time last year. Rachael Hahn, the state’s Bureau Chief for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, tells Missourinet it’s still early in the flu season.
“The flu season does tend to be somewhat unpredictable both in timing and the severity,” says Hahn. “Usually flu does tend to peak, meaning the highest number of cases, is sometimes between November and March.”
She says where the most cases are centered is hard to tell because Missouri is early in its flu season. At this point, the southeast region has the highest rate.
Most of the influenza strain currently circulating is influenza A. Hahn says when the strain is most common during flu season, it is generally responsible for higher overall flu cases.
For maximum results, she says it’s best to get your flu shot earlier on in the season.
Hahn wants Missourians to avoid the spread of germs, especially while around family and friends during the holidays.
“The number of cases does tend to peak around the holidays. So, it’s best to remember that you can actually spread influenza virus before you even know you’re sick,” says Hahn.
Basic prevention measures include:
*Get a flu shot
*Avoid close contact with sick people
*Wash hands often with soap and water
*Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately discard the tissue in the trash
*Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches and counters
*Stay at home while sick