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March 28, 2019

Flu season isn’t over yet

It’s starting to feel like spring outside, but that doesn’t mean the flu season is over. Continue to wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home from work or school when sick. It is not too late to get your flu shot.
In Skagit County, in the last three weeks alone, we have seen more flu than the rest of the season combined. To date, the county has seen four deaths attributed to influenza this season. Across the state, there have been 114 lab-confirmed influenza deaths reported.

The county has also seen a number of influenza-like illness outbreaks in sensitive settings, such as schools and long term care facilities. The flu is a serious disease, particularly for those people at high risk of developing flu-related complications if they get sick.

Those specifically at risk include the following:

• Adults 65 years and older
• People with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease)
• Pregnant women
• Young children

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Contact your healthcare provider or local pharmacy for more information about receiving a flu vaccine. People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins, though some may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Symptoms of the flu include:

• Cough
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Headaches
• Fatigue (very tired)

Some people may have fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

The following graph compares last flu season to this season, and shows a fairly large spike since February.

flu diagram

If you are interested in learning more, or if you have questions, please contact Skagit County Public Health, Communicable Disease at 360-416-1500. If you would like additional information on the 2018-2019 influenza season for the State of Washington, you can view the Washington State Department of Health’s influenza updates here.