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It’s nice outside, but Whatcom County can’t seem to shake this bug

Do your part to stop the spread of flu at home

What action – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?
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What action – apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine – can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?

Flu is continuing to hit Whatcom County — killing four more people and sickening an additional 371, according to a health department flu report that covered the two weeks ending March 23.

The illness has been surging in Whatcom County.

Public health officials have been urging people to get the flu vaccine, saying that flu season isn’t over just because it’s spring.

Flu is widespread in 34 states, including Washington, and Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

It’s on the upswing in British Columbia, which also is experiencing what the BC Centre for Disease Control is calling an “unusual late-season wave of influenza A” and “unusually low levels” of influenza B for this time of year.

That’s the main strain that’s been making people ill.

In Whatcom County, a total of 371 tests came back positive for the flu during the two weeks ending March 23, the latest data available. All but seven were caused by flu A viruses, according to the Whatcom County Health Department flu report that was released on Friday.

Washington is still seeing high rates of flu in patients young to old. It takes about two weeks for flu vaccine to take effect, but it's still not too late get it.

Compare that to the two weeks ending March 9 in Whatcom County, when a total of 286 tests came back positive for the flu, with all but nine caused by flu A viruses.

Before this most recent flu report from the Whatcom County Health Department, the latest data covered the period ending March 9.

There have been six flu-related deaths in Whatcom County so far this season, according to the county flu report.

Tips on protecting yourself and your family, or what to do if you get the flu, is online at KnockOutFlu.org.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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