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September 25, 2018 - DHS Wants Wisconsin to Avoid a Serious, Deadly Flu Season This Year

With a new flu season fast approaching, health officials are reminding people of the toll last year’s season took on Wisconsin residents, and encouraging everyone to get a flu shot to protect their families, communities, and themselves.

“The dangers of the flu are real, especially for the very young, for older adults, and for those with other health problems,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “Getting a flu shot helps protects not only you, but also your loved ones, friends, and neighbors, and this year we are asking everyone to pitch in and help.”

During the 2017-2018 flu season, 7,530 people in Wisconsin were hospitalized due to flu-related complications, and 379 people died – twice as many as the year before – including three children. With only 36% percent of state residents getting the flu shot last year, there is room for improvement this flu season, McKeown said.

Health care providers are already providing the flu vaccine, as are pharmacies. Visit www.ocph.info and click on "Influenza" to learn where you can get a flu shot in Oconto County.

The flu shot can help prevent the flu, and greatly reduce symptoms if you do get it, shortening time away from work or school.

Here are other simple steps to help you avoid spreading the flu and other viruses:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).If you’re sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.
Influenza numbers for the season will be updated every Friday beginning October 12, 2018, and can be found in the Weekly Respiratory Report. You can sign up to get the report via email. You can also find weekly reports from DHS Influenza Surveillance Coordinator, Tom Haupt, “The Flu Guy” on Facebook and Twitter.