(Juneau) The Dodge County Health Department is encouraging area residents to get their flu vaccine shot. Officials say data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show influenza activity is increasing significantly throughout the state ahead of the holiday season, mirroring trends being observed around the country.
As of December 1st, only 31-percent of Wisconsin residents have received their single-dose flu vaccine. Local and state health officials say early data suggests the flu vaccine is a good match to protect against circulating strains of the virus. They urge people to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.
Dr. Jasmine Zapata with the Wisconsin Bureau of Community Health Promotion says there is still time to get the shot.
“Rest assured that we wouldn’t be recommending this to you if we didn’t feel like it was safe and effective,” says Zapata. “A few weeks ago, I actually got my flu and COVID shot at the same time. I recommend it to my family, my closest friends, and now is the time for all of us to get protected so that we can go into the New Year safely.”
Zapata says getting the flu shot is especially important for those at highest risk of experiencing severe symptoms including older people, those with chronic health conditions, and the young.
Other mitigation techniques health officials recommend are washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often at home, work, and school. Avoid being around people who are sick as well as wearing a high-quality mask.
According to the state’s most recent respiratory virus surveillance report, all of Wisconsin is at a high level of influenza-like illness activity.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has confirmed the first pediatric influenza-associated death. Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westergaard says they are saddened to report the first death of a child from influenza in the state this season.
He adds that flu cases are on the rise and it is important to take steps to protect yourself and loved ones. Nationwide, there have been 30 pediatric influenza-associated deaths.