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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Flu hits "widespread" status in Arizona


Get the latest news and updateds from ADHS.

ARIZONA - The Arizona Department of Health Services reports
influenza activity in the state has reached a "widespread"
classification. More than 3,700 cases of flu have been
reported throughout Arizona with 51% of those in Maricopa
County. 

"The flu is a serious illness," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of
the Arizona Department of Health Services. "What's important
is to follow your mother's advice: wash your hands frequently,
cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home
from work if you are feeling ill."

Influenza symptoms are similar to the common cold. However,
the flu comes on quickly and is more physically draining. For
most people, the best care is to stay home, rest and drink
lenty of fluids. For others, especially those with certain
medical conditions, the flu can be more severe.

Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot since
Arizona's flu season can last as late as May.

"One of the best prevention methods we have is to get your flu
shot," said Dr. Christ. "In Arizona, the heaviest part of flu
season typically occurs in late December, January and
February."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issue flu
activity classifications as no activity, sporadic, local,
regional and widespread. The widespread classification
is used when there is an increase in flu and flu-like illnesses
and recent laboratory confirmed flu in at least half of a state's
regions.

Three other states have been classified as widespread so far
this season.

There have been 3,710 lab-confirmed influenza cases reported
forthe 2015-2016 influenza season in Arizona. Cases have been
reported in all 15 counties, with the most in Maricopa 1,909;
Pima, 939; Yavapai, 207; and Pinal, 201.

Dr. Christ said those numbers likely represent just a fraction of
the actual number of cases.

A list of flu shot providers is available at Community Information
and Referral. Call 602-263-8856 or go
to http://www.stopthespreadaz.org.  For more information
about influenza, go to http://www.azhealth.gov/flu or contact
your health care provider or local health department.

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