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Flu cases starting to be seen in Wisconsin

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After a quiet flu season last winter, flu cases are starting to be seen in Wisconsin.

Last year, precautions taken against COVID-19 kept flu numbers down.

Unlike COVID-19, individual cases of the flu are not as easy to get an exact number on or track, but officials are saying now is a good time to prepare for more cases of the flu.

"We're starting to see an uptick," Aspirus Pediatrics Physician Assistant Katelyn Frankwick said.

"Influenza is something that comes on pretty suddenly. It's that patient that comes in and says, 'I've been feeling great and all of a sudden I woke up and felt like I got hit by a truck,'" Frankwick added.

Recently, the Department of Health Services (DHS) is reporting more than 120 people have contracted the flu virus.

"I'm sure that there is more out there of people who kind of just deal with it at home, especially in the COVID world, people aren't wanting to come out in public," Frankwick said.

The winter months are when the flu is most easily spread, and it can have greater effect in children.

"Children are more vulnerable to get sick from the flu. In past years, you're seeing classrooms of kids being sent home because of the flu. That remains to be true," Marathon County Health Department Public Information Officer Aaron Ruff said.

"Last year there were three pediatric patients that unfortunately died from influenza and so taking it really seriously in our young children is really important," Frankwick added.

Officials are saying slowing the spread of the flu is just like slowing the spread of COVID-19: washing hands, covering coughs, and getting vaccinated.

"The flu shot won't necessarily prevent you from getting the flu fully but it'll prevent it from getting so severe that you might end up in the hospital with it," Frankwick said.

"Getting it now is a good idea before the brunt of winter hits," Ruff added.

As of late November, just 30% of Wisconsin residents have received a flu shot.

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