UPDATED Friday, October 21, 2011--9:30p.m.
MADISON--The State's Department of Health Services issued a release today confirming the appearance of the flu in a north eastern Wisconsin adult. The release also says that this may mean an early start to the flu season, which usually runs from November to March.
We talked with an official from Public Health Madison and Dane County. She says the flu can happen at any point during the year, though it typically peaks during the winter months. She says now that the first case has shown up, we do know the flu season is right around the corner. But she says the fact that the first confirmed case is in October is not necessarily an indication of how the rest of the season will go. "Because it happened in October, the first case happened in October that doesn't really give us any indication that it'll be a longer flu season or that we'll see more cases earlier than later," said Kate Louther, a nursing supervisor for Public Health Madison and Dane County.
Louther says even if you don't have medical risk factors, you may be exposed to people who can't get the vaccine--or have other immune-compromised issues--which is why they think everybody should be vaccinated.
Public Health Madison and Dane County does offer clinics where you can get the vaccine. Louther says they're really trying to target the uninsured with the clinics. They encourage those with insurance to go to their health care providers for their flu vaccination.
UPDATED Friday, October 21, 2011--5:30p.m.
MADISON--The flu season is right around the corner, according to an official with Public Health Madison and Dane County. That follows news of Wisconsin's first confirmed case of influenza for the 2011-12 season.
The official said that even though the first reported case showed up in October, that doesn't really give an indication as to whether or not it'll be a longer flu season--or that we'll see more cases earlier than later. She said the flu can happen at any point in the year.
UPDATED Friday, October 21, 2011 --- 2:50 p.m.
Wisconsin confirms 1st influenza case of season
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State health officials are encouraging people to get their flu shots after Wisconsin's first influenza case of the season was confirmed.
Officials say an adult from northeastern Wisconsin is the first confirmed case of influenza for the 2011-12 season.
State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson says the most effective way to avoid getting the flu is to get a flu shot.
Anderson says there's still time for the vaccine to be effective.
Officials say this first case indicates Wisconsin's flu season is off to an early start. Normally the season for Wisconsin runs from November to March, peaking in late January or February.
Find a flu vaccination clinic at: http://www.flu.gov
Copyright 2011. The Associated Press.
Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 --- 12:15 p.m.
From the Department of Health Services:
MADISON— State health officials today announced that an adult from Northeastern Wisconsin is the first confirmed case of influenza among Wisconsin residents for the 2011-12 influenza season.
“This laboratory confirmed case indicates that influenza has arrived in Wisconsin and serves as a reminder to everyone to get their flu shot if they haven’t already done so,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. “Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to avoid getting the flu.”
To get your flu shot, contact your health care provider, local public health department, tribal health clinic, or go to www.flu.gov to find a flu vaccination center near you. This first case indicates an early start to flu season for Wisconsin that generally runs from November to March, with peak activity around late-January or February. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza vaccine will continue to be shipped to Wisconsin throughout the flu season.
“There is still time for the vaccine to be effective and help prevent complications that can be caused by the flu, such as pneumonia or hospitalization,” Anderson said.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. “Flu” illness ranges from very mild to severe cases, and in some instances, can cause life-threatening complications. Influenza symptoms can come on quickly and include:
Body aches and/or tiredness
To stay healthy and to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu, you can take the following steps:
Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve. 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 with flu-like symptoms.
Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (i.e., door knobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
If you think you have the flu, stay home, get rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. If your symptoms persist, contact your doctor. To learn more about influenza, visit http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/influenza/index.htm