MADISON — With influenza (flu) cases rising in Wisconsin and nationwide, the state Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging residents to get the flu shots immediately.
The latest data compiled by the DHS shows Wisconsin is among the 43 states reporting high influenza activity.
Meanwhile, as of last week (December 8), only 31 percent of state residents had received their single-dose flu shot.
Flu vaccination strongly recommended
“The best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu is to get your annual flu shot,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, chief medical officer of the DHS Bureau of Community Health Promotion, in a press release.
“Anyone from the age of six months can now be vaccinated against the flu. This is especially important for those at highest risk for severe symptoms, including the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, pregnant women and young children. But even if you’re not at higher risk, getting the flu shot can help you avoid spreading it to others who may become seriously ill.”
Other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and RSV, continue to spread in Wisconsin. These viruses spread easily when people get together. While the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory diseases, they are caused by two different viruses and require two different vaccines. Eligible Wisconsinites can receive their flu shot and an updated COVID-19 booster at the same time.
Protect yourself from flu, other respiratory diseases
In addition to getting vaccinated, DHS recommends residents take simple steps to increase your protection and keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday season:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
- Avoid being around sick people.
- Wear a quality mask to protect yourself and those around you and prevent the spread of respiratory disease.
If you catch the flu or any other respiratory virus, you can help prevent the spread and protect others by:
- Stay at home if symptoms develop, except to receive medical care.
- Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.
To find out where vaccines are available near you, visit Vaccines.gov and learn more about ways to fight the flu at the DHS website.
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