As influenza (flu) activity continues to increase around the country and locally, health officials are recommending individuals who have not received a flu vaccination get one now.
In Arizona, 1,454 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza were reported in the past week, from 15 counties. That is over 1,000 more cases when compared to the same week last year.
A total of 19,279 cases have been reported in Arizona so far this flu season, which is 17,000 times more cases to date this season compared to last season.
The number of confirmed flu cases in Arizona this season rivals the total seen during the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009-10, which saw 19,906 cases.
In Coconino County, 103 cases were reported from Jan. 14 – 20, bringing the total number of confirmed flu cases through Jan. 20 to 527.
This total is higher than the five-year average of 109 confirmed cases during the same period. The number of flu cases reported represents a small proportion of the true number because many people do not seek medical care and do not get tested.
To help combat this increase, Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) is offering free seasonal flu shots (while supplies last) at the CCPHSD Clinic in Flagstaff. Getting a flu shot can reduce the risk of getting the illness and lessen the severity of the symptoms and complications associated with the flu.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. It is strongly recommended everyone 6 months old and over get a flu shot each year.
Flu symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes and can cause death.
More information is available at www.coconino.az.gov/health. Those wanting to schedule an appointment should call the clinic at (928) 679-7222 or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272.