The peak of flu season is quickly approaching, but there’s still time to protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated.
Dr. Vicki Whitacre of the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department said more cases of the flu are reported in February than any other month, but as the weather gets colder, influenza activity is likely to increase.
"Up to this point, it’s been what we call sporadic, which means there’s just an occasional case of the flu," said Whitacre. "I think it’s probably going to grow more as the next month or two goes by."
Symptoms to watch out for include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. Whitacre said even if you’ve already had the flu this season, it’s possible to contract multiple strands of the virus.
"There’s Type A and Type B, and of those types, there are other breakdowns of different kinds of flu," said Whitacre. "There’s lots of different viruses that cause flu-like illness."
Most viruses will run their course for about a week, although the duration of symptoms can vary from person to person.
"You need to get a flu shot to prevent yourself from getting it, but also to protect those who you may be caring for, particularly if you’re a healthcare worker or you’re taking care of small children," said Whitacre.
If you or your child is showing any flu-like symptoms, it’s important to stay home from work or school and seek medical attention for severe dehydration or breathing problems. Free flu shots are still available at the health department for children ages six months to 18 years.