"School is a place where germs spread:" health officials warn to vaccinate early

DANE CO., Wis (WMTV) - The start of fall means flu season is right around the corner. According to Dane Co. health officials, the season runs roughly from Oct. to April.

During the 2018-2019 season, there were more than 220 hospitalizations in Dane Co., according to an epidemiologist with Public Health Madison and Dane Co.

Public Health Madison and Dane Co. Immunization Coordinator Sarah Hughes said they recommend parents vaccinate their kids early, as it is difficult to predict how bad a flu season will be.

"School is a place where germs spread super easily, kids are more susceptible to that, so getting your school-aged child vaccinated is really important," Hughes said.

Danielle Krbecek, the coordinator of health services for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, said they are already starting to see more kids coming to school ill, with anything from sinus issues, colds, runny noses and fevers.

"For parents, if they feel their child might still be contagious, that they please keep their kid home, so we can keep all the kids healthy and safe at school,” she said.

Because the start of school starts right around the same time as flu season, Krbecek said it is important for parents to know the symptoms.

"People mistake the flu for allergies, common cold, when flu is actually fever, running nose, coughing and it is not just stomach upset,” she said.

Hughes said the more people that get vaccinated, the less likely there will be a bad flu season.

According to Public Health Madison and Dane Co., there are several places to get a flu shot. For those with insurance, head to a doctor’s office or local pharmacy. For those without, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. offers them.