After 38 cases of Influenza B were confirmed by the Alaska State Virology Laboratory last week, public health officials have declared flu season officially in full swing.
Public health nurse Therese Titus said on Tuesday that last week’s report from the Virology Laboratory represented the winter’s first significant jump from week to week in the number of confirmed cases.
“Typically once we see that first spike of the season, the numbers tend to stay that high until around March or April,” Titus said.
Titus said that it’s not too late for people to get a flu shot, and that receiving the flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Wash your hands often, cover your cough, and stay home when you’re sick,” Titus said. “But most importantly get your flu shot, if you can.”
Flu shots are available at the Public Health Center by appointment Monday through Friday for individuals aged 29 and younger. Most pharmacies will also provide flu shots, Titus said, and some providers now offer a nasal spray as an alternative to the shot that is effective for individuals aged 49 and younger.
The common symptoms of the flu include a high fever that can last three to four days, headaches, bodily aches and pains, and extreme exhaustion, Titus said. The flu can last for up to three weeks depending on the person and the severity of the case. For more information, call the Kenai Public Health Center at 907-335-3400 or visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Influenza resource page.