More than 5,700 Missourians have tested positive for the flu this season, compared to nearly 900 during the same period last year. There have been two flu-associated deaths, eight flu outbreaks and three flu-like school closures this season. The previous week’s state report shows 46 deaths involving pneumonia and flu were reported – bringing the season-to-date total to 416 associated deaths in Missouri.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, about 76-percent of the flu cases this season are influenza A – a strain that is generally responsible for higher overall flu cases. Newborns to age four have been hardest hit by the flu. The regions with the highest number of cases are in northwest and southeast Missouri.
Medical officials want Missourians to be extra cautious around the holidays. Germs spread like wildfire when getting together with family and friends to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
The Department of Health and Senior Services says a flu vaccination is the best way of to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter. In addition to getting your flu shot, other safeguards should be taken:
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after touching shared objects or surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, remote controls, shopping counters, debit card readers, etc. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
• Stay home while you’re sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.