Flu: What You Need to Know
This year's flu season is the worst in five years.
The influenza season has not peaked yet, but statewide hospitalizations related to flu are up three-fold over previous years.
Flu cases in the Milwaukee area have increased to an “intense” level, significantly exceeding moderate levels in 2011-12, according to Google Flu Trends.
Wisconsin is among 42 states to have a widespread flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All 50 states are reporting symptoms, with Hawaii only reporting sporadic cases.
More than 1,200 people in Wisconsin have been hospitalized because of flu symptoms, creating crowding problems at Milwaukee-area hospitals, according to Today’s TMJ4.
In a statewide conference call yesterday, health officials were told of the significant jump in influenza cases over the past two weeks, according to Greenfield Health Director Darren Rausch.
“This is certainly interesting given that this includes the holiday weeks when clinics may have been closed for a day or two,” Rausch said. “Overall, influenza cases have not peaked yet, with typical peaks seen in late January or early February.
“Compared to the previous influenza seasons, the number of hospitalizations thus far in the 2012-13 influenza season is three times the historic numbers.”
The Greenfield Health Department still has flu vaccinations clinics available for residents. Annual vaccination significantly reduces the risk of complications due to influenza and will prevent many people from becoming ill due to the virus, according to Rausch.
“Vaccination remains a great prevention strategy,” he said.
The Health Department will provide flu vaccine by appointment. You may call the Health Department to schedule your immunization at (414) 329-5275. The cost of the vaccination varies by Medicare eligibility and insurance status; details are bulleted below:
- Clients with Medicare Part B coverage only will have the cost of the vaccination billed directly to Medicare; clients should bring their Medicare card(s) to the clinic so staff may screen for eligibility.
- Medicare Advantage plans, such as United HealthCare, AARP Medicare Complete or Humana Gold are not accepted. A receipt can be issued and the client can directly submit to their plan for reimbursement.
- The cost of influenza vaccination will be $25.00 for adults not eligible for Medicare Part B.
The influenza is contracted through drops of moisture spread through the air when a person coughs, sneezes or talks, according to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Symptoms can take between one and three days to appear. Infected people can be contagious for one day before the illness and up to five days after the illness.
According to the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, symptoms are:
- Dry cough
- Aching in the muscles and joints
Where to Get a Flu Shot
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some additional places in Greenfield that offer the vaccine:
- Walgreens at Highway 100 and Layton Avenue
- Walgreens at Loomis and Layton Avenue
- Walgreens at Cold Spring and 76th Street
- Pick 'n Save at Cold Spring and 76th Street
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following information: