This flu season has affected thousands of Macomb County residents, with more reported cases than last year at this time, according to the Macomb County Health Department.
There were 1,580 reports of flu-like symptom cases during the second week of December, up from the previous week of 1,211 and 1,069 in the last week of November, according to the department's latest available statistics on Thursday.
None of those cases in Macomb County were fatal and they do not specify how many were children or adults. They also do not represent influenza cases unreported by individuals since much of the information comes from schools and hospitals. They do reflect, however, more reported flu-like cases than last year or two years prior at this time.
“They’re a little bit higher than this time of year, as opposed to the last two years,” Dr. Kevin Lokar, medical director for the Macomb County Health Department, said Thursday.
Lokar noted though that the seasonal flu might just peak earlier this year. The typical influenza season spans from December to March, he said.
The Michigan Department of Community Health confirmed three children died after contracting influenza in other parts of Michigan this flu season. The department does not report adult deaths, according to MLive.
Flu shots, hygiene aim to fight off influenza
Lokar points out that it’s not too late to get vaccinated. The county health department is among the places that offer flu shots. Testing on this year’s seasonal influenza shows matches within the vaccine offered, he said.
The flu shot is recommended for everyone six months and older. It does not cause sickness but has been shown to prevent the flu, Lokar said.
“Some people feel that it causes the flu and it doesn’t,” he said.
Basic hygiene, such as coughing into a tissue and hand-washing, are among tips for flu prevention. People with the flu are encouraged to stay home to rest to avoid spreading it.