Health officials have seen an uptick in people becoming sick from influenza in Wyoming, particularly in the southwestern part of the state.
“Our reports have been showing increasing levels of activity across the state in recent weeks,” Reggie McClinton, the epidemiologist for the state Department of Health, said in a press release.
The department doesn’t have a reliable count on the number of flu cases seen thus far this year, said spokeswoman Kim Deti. It’s too early to tell how this flu season so far compares to past years. There were 15 flu-related deaths during the 2016-2017 flu season, she said.
The flu season typically begins in October and continues into May. The peak, Deti said, is typically in the heart of winter.
The flu is a viral, contagious, respiratory illness that causes fever, tiredness, sore throat, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, and runny and stuffy noses.
McClinton said in the release that reports show this year’s flu vaccine “is a good match for the flu strains circulating in Wyoming and across the country.”
It’s not too late to receive a flu shot, according to the release. The department recommends an annual vaccine for “nearly everyone over the age of six months.”
The vaccine takes about two weeks to begin protecting people from the flu, so it’s still possible to become sick in the immediate aftermath of receiving the shot.
In addition to obtaining a shot, people can prevent the contraction and spread of the flu by covering noses and mouths when sneezing or coughing; washing hands; and staying home when feeling ill.