According to the statement, Arizona flu activity hit widespread this week; widespread is the highest category possible.
Influenza has been reported in 14 of the 15 counties. Doctors’ visits for influenza or influenza-like illnesses have steadily increased over the last few weeks.
There has also been an increase in hospital admissions.
Locally the flu has taken a toll causing some care facilities to exercise extreme caution like providing masks and gloves and asking for those who stop by or visit to only do so if necessary.
In Douglas, the Douglas Fire Department has started their 2013 flu preparedness meetings to help them keep track and help prepare for any flu situations in the community.
“We are hoping to limit the spread of the flu in our community, and help keep our community healthy,” Chief Mario Novoa said.
Influenza is a serious viral illness with symptoms that are similar to the common cold.
However, the flu comes on quickly and is more physically draining.
Approximately 134 cases have been treated by local hospitals since November of last year to the present, Novoa said.
“Many have visited clinics and have stayed home to recuperate from the illness,” he added.
The flu shot can still offer protection from influenza, if you have not been sick yet.
“Be sure to take common sense prevention steps such as hand washing frequently, staying home when you’re sick, and coughing into a sleeve or tissue to prevent the spread of germs,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Chief Medical Director for Health Services. “And get your flu shot they’re available almost everywhere these days. The flu shot won’t protect you if you are already sick or from other illness. ”
Good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of the flu.
“Please wash your hands frequently and or have a hand sanitizer in your work area and or home readily available,” Novoa said. “And if you have any of the flu symptoms, please stay home and limit the spread.”
Chief Novoa announced there will be a free flu vaccination clinic Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pediatric Center of Excellence on 15th Street for kids ages six months to 18 years of age.
A parent or guardian must be present at the time of the vaccination and a immunization record will be required.
For more information on the clinic call 364-5437.
The flu vaccine will be administered until supplies are depleted.