Influenza cases in Pettis County have started to show a significant increase, according to JoAnn Martin, Pettis County Health Center administrator.

For last week, there were 60 cases of influenza reported as compared to 9 for the week before. The group with the highest number of cases is 5-14-year-olds followed by 25-49-year-olds. With the Thanksgiving holidays quickly approaching, there is an increased risk of spreading the flu as people gather to share a holiday meal. Please consider the following steps to take to slow the spread of the flu:

1. Stay home if you or anyone in your family is ill.
2. Use good handwashing, particularly after being out in public
3. Open windows to improve ventilation in crowded spaces if at all possible
4. If you are at risk for complications from the flu, consider wearing a mask in public
5. Get a flu vaccine – the flu virus will be circulating for a while

The symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, aching muscles, cough, headache, runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat. Symptoms can start fast. If you believe you have symptoms of the flu, contact your health care provider or visit an urgent care/walk in clinic to see if you need to receive medication to shorten the time of the flu symptoms.

This is particularly important if you have any chronic health problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, a weak immune system or other breathing problems. If you have trouble catching your breath, can not stop coughing or your fever is not coming down with your regular fever-reducing medication, seek medical care right away.

Flu vaccines are available at the Pettis County Health, doctor’s offices and pharmacies in the community.

There are a variety of links for more information. The CDC website is www.cdc.gov/flu or Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/influenza/

For more information, contact the Pettis County Health Center at (660) 827-1130.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
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