Hurricane Season Could Have An Impact on Local Flu Numbers - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Hurricane Season Could Have An Impact on Local Flu Numbers

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After last year's elevated flu season, the Ohio County Health Department is urging your family not to wait any longer before protecting yourself from the flu.

Administrator Howard Gamble said they are seeing flu cases already, actually cases are slightly up across the United States, but it's not yet a widespread outbreak.

But, how do you know if you actually have the flu?

"Someone had what they call the flu and threw up had other bathroom emergencies and it lasted maybe a day, two days, they didn't have the flu, they had a stomach flu," said

Howard said the flu usually lasts a week, and is completely exhausting, sometimes ending in hospitalization.

"They had fever they were just laying around and couldn't move they even were hospitalized they had the flu," said Gamble.

You're typically contagious for about a week, and start spreading the virus the day before you start feeling sick. Howard said it's nearly impossible to predict flu season in the Ohio Valley, but there is one connection: the weather.

"They have a concern that, because of the natural disasters in Texas, Florida, now Mississippi, and now the biggest one which is in Puerto Rico that a lot of people have been pushed to shelters. If we have additional disasters where we're pushing a lot of people to shelters there's a chance where you're again in close quarters and if we have flu viruses circulating that it could be spread very rapidly," said Gamble.

That's why Howard recommends anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated, including pregnant women, even people with allergies, and especially the elderly.

"You cannot get the flu from the flu shot, it's a dead virus," said Gamble.

It takes 2 weeks for the flu shot to be effective, so in the meantime protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing and coughing, and staying home when you feel sick. "Get them now, get them early so you're protected for the season," said Gamble.

Most local county health departments take insurance, but if you aren't covered, you qualify for the state vaccine, and an option through vaccine for children.

Vaccines for children are given on Wednesdays in Ohio County, and on Mondays and Thursdays anyone can stop in for their regular flu shot.

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