Flu cases very high in Washington: DOH urges everyone take precautions

Flu cases very high in Washington: DOH urges everyone take precautions

The Washington State Department of Health is informing Washington citizens that the flu is spreading at a high rate in Washington State right now. The current flu season is early this year and flu deaths are at higher rates than usual at this time of year. Since December 10, 40 people have died from the flu in Washington, including three children.

The DOH strongly recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot as soon as possible. It can help keep individuals from becoming seriously ill or spreading disease and prevent hospitalizations in an already strained health care system. If someone gets the flu when they are vaccinated, it is usually milder with fewer complications. The vaccine also lowers the risk of needing medical attention.

“It’s not too late to get the flu shot, so we urge everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Health Secretary Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD.

“The flu is spreading rapidly in our state, and getting a flu shot now helps protect us all, especially when we plan to gather for holidays and events.”

The most common type of flu seen so far this year is influenza A (H3N2). This type usually causes more severe disease. All available flu vaccines provide protection against H3N2.

Remember that the flu can be serious and deadly, even for otherwise healthy young people and adults. The flu can be especially dangerous for people who are under 5, 65 or older, pregnant, immunocompromised, or have chronic health conditions.

The flu vaccine is available at most pharmacies, health care providers’ offices, and clinics. The flu vaccine can be taken at the same time as any other vaccine.

In addition to the flu, other respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and RSV are sickening both children and adults and overwhelming hospitals. Individuals can help keep themselves, their families, and their community healthy by getting a flu and COVID-19 booster shot and taking other measures to prevent getting sick or spreading the disease to others.

DOH recommends:

• Find out about any vaccinations that are expected. This includes the annual flu shot and any COVID-19 boosters for those 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best protection against many serious diseases.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer when soap is not available and hands are not visibly soiled.

• Consider wearing a mask in crowded areas or indoors.

• Sneeze or cough into your arm bed or into a beanie so germs don’t get on your hands or in the air.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you feel sick.

Find out more at KnockOutFlu.org.

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