Arizona flu numbers show a sharp increase over last year
Cases of the flu in Arizona have continued to rise through the first week of January, as there were 11,515 confirmed cases from mid-October through Jan. 6, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
ADHS reported that this is a 938 percent increase from the 1,109 reported cases in 2016-17 for the same period.
ADHS also reported there were 2,455 confirmed cases for the week ending Jan. 6, which is nearly 2,200 more cases compared with last season for the same week.
The last time the flu was this widespread was in 2015, but those numbers were recorded in the peak season of February, according to ADHS.
Outbreaks of the flu got out to an early start this season, as reported cases were on the rise in December.
There were 36 states that declared widespread flu outbreaks in December, and deaths have been reported in some states.
The flu is a contagious illness that spreads through contact or when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes and talks. Young children, older people, and people with prior health conditions may be at a higher risk for serious flu complications.
According to the Health Services Department, the best way to prevent the flu is to receive a vaccination each year.
The Health Services Department recommends that everyone take precautions when they are sick by washing their hands, covering their mouths when coughing, staying home when sick and drinking non-caffeinated fluids.
Local vaccination clinics are listed on vaccinefinder.org.