Health officials: Still time to get a flu shot as illness numbers increase Featured

Health officials: Still time to get a flu shot as illness numbers increase Centers for Disease Control and Prevention graphic

Flu season is here.

If there is any good news, the flu season locally is off to a slower start than at this time last year. Newman Regional Health Infection Preventionist Ester Knobloch joined KVOE's Morning Show with an update.

Flu is widespread across the state, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and with flu typically not peaking for another several weeks, the hospital enacted its patient visitation restrictions Thursday effective until further notice. Quality Improvement Specialist Julie Heitman says young visitors and those who are sick should stay away unless they themselves need treatment.

Currently, restrictions are limited to the Labor and Delivery/Obstetrics, or fourth floor.

Flu season typically lasts through March and occasionally goes into April. Since just after Christmas, Newman Regional Health has tested almost 220 patients for flu with 12, or 5.5 percent, testing positive. Anything above 2.2 percent is considered elevated. RSV, a major health concern for children, started showing up in mid-December. Almost 150 patients have been tested with 28, or 19 percent, testing positive.

Flu symptoms hit suddenly, as opposed to the common cold. Look for fever, chills, headache, sore throat and fatigue.

To limit the spread of the flu, get a flu shot. Health experts say there are vaccines still available. Also, make sure your hands are clean by washing your hands or using hand sanitizers. If you get sick, stay home until you're fever-free for 24 hours.

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