The flu season has already reared its ugly head in Arizona — but not yet in Gila County — according to the state’s summary of activity for the illness.
The most recent report shows 46 confirmed cases of the flu around the state, including one in Coconino County, but none in Gila County. The state’s first confirmed case was reported Oct. 4, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Graham County has reported the most confirmed cases at 19; followed by Maricopa County with 11; six in Mohave County; and four in Pima. Doctors have reported two confirmed cases in Pinal County and single cases reported in Cochise, Navajo and Yuma counties, as well as the one case in Coconino County.
While the confirmed cases represent a small proportion of the true number of cases of the flu, nationally the flu or the pneumonia that sometimes follows has caused 14 deaths according to the ADHS report.
In Arizona, out of the 46 confirmed cases 17 occurred in the 19-49 age group and 11 in the 5-18 age group.
“An annual flu shot is the best way to reduce your chances of getting seasonal flu. Influenza is a serious disease that can even affect healthy people, who can spread it to others,” said Marie Peoples, chief health officer for the Coconino County Public Health Services District.
Immunizations for the flu will be offered for $45 at the Nov. 2 Community Health & Care Fair at Julia Randall Elementary gym, 902 W. Main St., Payson. Medicare and most insurance will cover the cost of this preventive measure.
“It is never too late to get a flu shot,” said Michael O’Driscoll, director of the Gila County Division of Health and Emergency Services. O’Driscoll’s office has just completed a series of flu shot programs in area schools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunizations for everyone over 6 months old, especially pregnant women; children under 5; adults 65 and older; those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes; people living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and those caring for high risk individuals, including health care and day care workers.
Flu prevention tips
- Wash hands frequently during flu season
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Cover mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and wash hands afterward; if no tissue is available, sneeze or cough into your sleeve
- Stay home when you are sick