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Health officials urge people to get the flu vaccine as cases continue to rise

Tristan ODriscoll is an Aspirus Infectious Disease Pharmacist
Tristan ODriscoll is an Aspirus Infectious Disease Pharmacist

Wisconsin is now in the high category for influenza.

Flu cases have nearly doubled each week for the last three weeks of data available.

Local hospitals and clinics are reporting longer wait times as they’ve seen an increase in patients coming in with respiratory illnesses.

Tristan O’Driscoll is an Aspirus Infectious Disease Pharmacist. He says one of the best things you can do to prevent getting severely ill or dying from the flu is to get vaccinated.

“Peak flu season is typically in the fall and winter from December to March. But this year has been different, and we’ve seen a rise in flu much earlier than we normally do. Anyone who is six months or older is eligible for the flu shot. It’s never too late to get a flu shot. Please go out and get it as soon as you can,” said O’Driscoll.

Young children, adults over 65, and those with certain chronic health conditions are especially encouraged to get vaccinated.

About 30% of Wisconsin residents have been vaccinated against the flu.

Other ways to protect yourself include staying away from people that are sick, washing your hands frequently, and wearing a mask indoors in crowded areas.

While the flu is a common virus, it can still lead to serious complications resulting in hospitalization and sometimes even death.

The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 4,500 deaths nationwide from flu.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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