Flu season arrives late in Washington, has not yet peaked

March 20, 2012

By Staff

Influenza is on the rise in communities throughout Washington, as the slow-to-arrive affliction starts to increase.

State health officials said predicting the timing and severity of each flu season is complicated. Though the flu most commonly peaks in February, peak flu activity has not yet occurred in Washington. The traditional flu season can last as late as May.

Officials said everyone 6 months and older should receive a flu shot each year. Some children under 9 may need a pair of doses for complete protection.

The flu causes fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue.

Officials said healthy habits can limit the spread of contagious illnesses, including the flu. Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, avoid close contact with ill people, and stay home from work, school and other public settings when ill.

For people suffering from the flu, antiviral medications can lessen symptoms and help prevent serious complications. People at high risk for complications should contact a doctor promptly for medication. High-risk populations include pregnant women, recent mothers, young children, and people 65 years and older.

The flu vaccine is still available at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, public health centers and other providers. Find a flu shot clinic at www.flucliniclocator.org. Find complete information about seasonal influenza at www.kingcounty.gov/health/flu.

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