Flathead County Has Confirmed Cases of the Flu

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead City-County Health Department has reported two lab-confirmed cases of Influenza B, or the flu, as of Nov. 6.

“Now that Flathead County and Gallatin County have confirmed influenza, it is more important than ever that everyone gets a flu shot,” the health department wrote in a statement.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department has also confirmed cases in two adolescent boys.

State health officials say there were more than 10,500 laboratory-confirmed or suspected cases of flu during the 2012-13 influenza season, 361 people were hospitalized and the deaths of 15 people were directly attributed to the flu.

Health officials are encouraging residents to get flu shots, to protect themselves and others who might be vulnerable to the virus. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective, so plan ahead. Other ways to prevent transmitting flu include: covering a cough; frequent hand-washing; and staying home when you are sick.

The influenza virus usually spreads person to person by coughing or sneezing. It is also possible to become infected by touching something with flu virus on it, and then touching your mouth or nose, the health department said. Most adults are infectious one day before they have symptoms.

“Symptoms of the flu are: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and, especially in children, stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,” health officials said. ”

People usually become ill one to three days after being infected. Complications can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and a worsening of other chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.”

For any additional information visit www.flatheadhealth.org.