Flu activity remains widespread nationwide, with increased hospitalizations in Milwaukee. The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) continues to urge residents to take steps to protect themselves and those around them against the seasonal virus.
In the city of Milwaukee, 611 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported to the MHD since the start of flu season, a significant increase compared to previous seasons. Influenza-like illness levels remain high statewide, where more than 4,300 hospitalizations have been reported.
“I urge all Milwaukee residents to take the advice of health officials to protect yourself and the people that you care about, especially those at highest risk for complications,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “These steps include getting your flu shot if you have not already. It is important to know that even if you do get sick, the flu vaccine may make your symptoms less severe. A simple flu shot could mean the difference between being home sick or being hospitalized.”
Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and blood disorders are at higher risk in developing severe flu complications.
Protect yourself and your loved ones in two simple steps:
1. Get vaccinated. It’s not too late to get the flu shot. Health officials recommend flu vaccine for all individuals over 6 months of age. The vaccine protects against multiple strains of the flu, and can help prevent you from getting the flu, help prevent the spread of influenza, or help reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.
2. Prevent the spread.
a. Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and wash your hands frequently. The flu virus is spread through the air when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water, or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, can also help prevent the spread.
b. Stay home from work or school when sick. If you are experiencing symptoms of seasonal flu, including fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue, stay home from work or school, get rest, and drink plenty fluids.
If you are at risk for complications, or if your symptoms persist or worsen, contact your health care provider, and take antiviral medications if prescribed by your doctor. Antiviral medications can reduce the severity and duration of illness in individuals at risk for complications associated with the flu, especially for those with persistent or severe symptoms.
To find a flu vaccine clinic near you, use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.milwaukee.gov/health.