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Posted on Dec 19, 2014

Flu season arrives in Grant County

Grant County Health District has received more than 200 positive influenza lab reports in Grant County. Most cases are from the past two weeks and are in Quincy, Moses Lake and Mattawa.

In addition, several Moses Lake schools are reporting 10 percent absenteeism.

Since early December, GCHD has been in communication with healthcare providers and schools as the reports of positive flu cases started to increase. With the higher than normal number of flu cases, Grant County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny wants residents to know that flu vaccine is still your best protection.

“The flu is in our communities year-long but is now increasing at significant numbers which tells us the seasonal epidemic of influenza has started,” Brzezny said.

With holiday travel quickly approaching GCHD urges all residents 6 months and older to get their flu shot as soon as possible. Currently, there is no shortage of flu vaccine and it is widely available through clinics and pharmacies.

According to Washington State Department of Health and the CDC, H3N2 flu viruses have been the most common type of flu circulating around the country. More than half of those viruses have changed slightly from the strain that’s included in this year’s flu vaccine.

Seasons when H3N2 viruses are most common tend to be more severe with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the health district. The flu vaccine still offers protection against the well-matched strains and may provide some protection against the drifted strain.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. People with the flu can make others sick a day before symptoms appear and up to five days after symptoms begin.

The health district suggest that if you are sick with flu–like sickness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine), unless you need to leave to receive medical care. If your doctor prescribes antiviral medicine, finish the entire prescription. Infants are at an increase risk for flu, caregivers who are sick should wear a mask when caring for an infant.