Influenza illnesses are increasing and state health officials urge Washingtonians to get a flu shot as soon as they can, according to a news release Tuesday from the Washington State Department of Health.
“People who are sick should stay home from holiday gatherings where influenza and other illness can spread. If you have symptoms of the flu it’s better to miss some of the holiday fun than to risk infecting others – especially those people who are at higher risk of serious complications,” said Scott Lindquist, the state’s epidemiologist for infectious diseases.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, body aches, and a cough or sore throat. It can cause severe illness in some people, and can sometimes lead to death. Last flu season 278 people in Washington were confirmed to have died from influenza, health officials said.
Flu shots are the best way to prevent the illness, officials said. Everyone 6 months old and up is recommended to get a flu shot. People in close contact with high-risk groups should get a flu shot to protect themselves and the people in their care, according to the news release.
Information on how to prevent the flu and weekly updates on flu activity in Washington state, go to doh.wa.gov.