Trends show flu season worse this year

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - It is expected that flu numbers will continue being higher than average this year because numbers are already higher than they were at this time last year. And because we have not reached peak, the numbers are expected to rise.

West Central District's Shannon Vanderheiden stressed the importance of getting the flu vaccine. She said that it is still possible to contract the flu virus after getting the shot, but that the shot lessens the severity of the illness. Optimally, people will not contract the virus at all, but it is still possible.

People cannot contract the virus by getting the flu shot. The vaccine is a dead virus, and does not cause the flu. It takes about two weeks after getting the shot for the body to build up antibodies to provide protection.

But it is not too late to get the shot. There is still plenty of "flu season" left this season. Vanderheiden said that the West Central Health Department works with schools within their six county district, and they are seeing an increase in numbers of kids reporting illnesses. They cannot track every flu case, but the trends are that more people are getting sick.

The flu shot only takes moments, and can protect from feeling crumby, to missing work or school - to prevent hospitalizations, and even; from dying.

Stay home if you get sick. If you feel like you might have the flu, call your doctor. There are treatments that can reduce the illness if begun early on.