Madison, Wis. (WMTV) -- Local health officials are releasing new information about how the flu is impacting the area.
This comes after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the first reported pediatric death of the 2019-2020 flu season. The child flu death reported Friday brings the death toll in Wisconsin to 15.
UW-Health says it’s already had 100 cases of children with the flu this season, with more hospitalizations than last year. Of those hundred, 65 were reported in December and 32 were reported in the first nine days of 2020. Health officials say we have yet to reach the peak of the flu season which typically happens in early February. This year’s flu season began early.
Flu shots are recommended for everyone six months of age and older. Kids under the age of five are considered high risk for catching the flu if not vaccinated. As for adults, UW-Health says there are 132 more reported flu cases this year, with nearly 30 hospitalizations compared to just seven last year.
Ernise Watson, Registered Nurse and Dean of Nursing at Madison College says it’s not too late to get vaccinated. “If you haven't had your flu vaccine, please get it. It does take some time for the immunity to take effect so you want to make sure to normally get your flu shot as early as they become available,” said Watson. She also suggests staying home if you are sick. The flu can easily be spread and people who don’t take precautions can put others at risk including children.
More tips include wearing a mask to cover germs if you do go out. Washing your hands frequently is also helpful as well as sanitizing your home.