Flu outbreak comes early in Wisconsin

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) — Friday may have been one of the hottest days of the year in the Chippewa Valley, but there’s a reminder that flu season is running ahead of schedule.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Friday there have been 19 confirmed cases of influenza in the state since the month of September began. Last year – just five confirmed cases during this span.

“We usually peak between December and February and, obviously this year, it might look a little bit different,” Denise Wirth, with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, said to WEAU 13 News on Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states flu season really doesn’t start until October. Yet, out of the 19 confirmed flu cases this month in Wisconsin, eight of those people have been hospitalized. Wirth said there have been no confirmed cases in Eau Claire County, but said some nearby counties have reports of the flu.

“It’s not far away. It’s not in just Milwaukee or Madison. It’s in our neighborhood,” Wirth said.

With the early on-set of the flu, Wirth said now is the time to get a flu shot. Otherwise, she said you could get the standard fever, chills and aches of influenza.

“The flu can strike at any time and you should be vaccinated,” she said. “You should not wait to get vaccinated until October or November. You should get that vaccination as soon as you can.”

Wirth said if you do suspect that you may have the flu, one of the best things to do it might be best to stay home and relax.

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“It’s hard. I think we do have a work-hard society. We pride ourselves in going to work, no matter if you’re sick or not,” she said. “But it’s really not a good idea, because it’s not only you that’s affecting. It’s the community and the people around you.”

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