Virginia Health Department says flu cases on the rise

Recommends flu shot

A sign telling customers that they can get a flu shot in a Walgreen store is seen Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, in Indianapolis. The nation’s biggest drugstores and retailers are grabbing larger chunks of the immunization market, giving customers more convenient options to protect themselves against the flu, pneumonia and more than a dozen other illnesses. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The flu season is underway and the Virginia Department of Health says they are seeing an increase in cases across the state.

According to Web MD’s flu map, which tracks the amount of cases across the country, Virginia is one of a handful of states that ranks as severe. But health officials say it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.

flu-map

“It’s best to get it early because it does take about two weeks for it to develop,” said Sarah Lenno with VDH.

Fenno, who tracks flu cases for the Department of Health, says they usually see cases of the flu increase between December and March. She says getting a flu shot now could help prevent you from getting sick before we see a spike in flu cases, especially for those most vulnerable.

“Children, especially those younger than five, older individuals, 65 and older, pregnant women as well as people with underlying medical conditions,” said Fenno.

Fenno says those groups are most at risk for suffering serious illnesses, even death, although she says no one is truly immune.

“But even in otherwise healthy individuals severe illness can develop,” said Fenno.

Should you get the flu, there are things you can do to protect yourself and those around you.

“If you’re sick, stay home from school or work. Stay away from those that are ill. Always wash your hands. Respiratory hygiene is very important,” said Fenno.

Health officials also want to remind everyone that the flu mist is no longer recommended so if you are getting vaccinated, they say get a shot.