The flu season appears to be off to an early start around Northern Arizona. KNAU’s Zac Ziegler reports:
There were total 87 cases of influenza reported last week in Coconino, Mohave, Yavapai, Apache and Navajo counties.
According to state health department data, that’s about seven times the average for this time of year.
Matthew Maurer is an epidemiologist with Coconino County Health and Human Services. He says this marks the second year in a row of an early spike in flu cases.
“The year before that, our spike was January. And the year before that was February. It did get started early, so it may taper off or it could be a bad flu season.”
The health department’s Sarah Schildecker says there’s also higher demand for flu shots this year.
“Which is great because it is the most effective way to prevent the flu, and even if it doesn’t completely prevent flu what it does is help decrease the severity of the illness.”
She says it’s optimal to get a flu shot in October, but getting one now could still be affective against the virus.
Health officials also encourage vigilant hand-washing and covering coughs.