Influenza (flu) is currently circulating at a high level in Monroe County. As of December 21, 2019, there have been 420 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu in Monroe County, with 51 requiring hospitalization. Reported new cases more than doubled from the prior week. The actual number is likely much higher as physicians sometimes diagnose based upon symptoms, and do not confirm it with a laboratory test. Flu typically begins to show up in October and can last through May, often peaking in January or February.

“While we are well into Flu season, it is circulating at a very high level at this time, so Monroe County residents should be particularly cautious now. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, stay home from work or school if you are sick, and be sure to cover your cough to prevent spreading germs to family and friends,” said Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County Health Commissioner. “These precautions are particularly important if you have infants or older individuals in your household,” Mendoza added.

Flu is a contagious viral illness characterized by fever, body aches, cough, and fatigue. While anyone can contract flu, it is most serious for children younger than 2, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and for people with a chronic medical condition (heart, lung, kidney, diabetes, HIV). It spreads mainly by droplets when people cough or sneeze. People can spread illness a day before symptoms begin and while they are sick. People typically get sick within 1-2 days after being exposed.

Flu will likely continue to circulate for several more months, so it is not too late to get vaccinated. Most major pharmacies and physician practices still have vaccine.

Flu intensity at this level often results in health care settings (hospitals, nursing homes) implementing visitor restrictions to prevent the spread of illness to patients and staff.

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