By Danielle Guichard - RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The flu is making a big appearance in Virginia, according to the Center for Disease and Control (CDC).
The CDC reports that the number of influenza cases is increasing in Virginia and is now widespread throughout the state.
Symptoms of flu include a high fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle aches and shortness of breath, according to Patient First.
"Flu is contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing," Patient First's press release read. "You can also become infected by touching an object contaminated by the flu virus (possibly from a hand that covered a sneeze) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes."
Some years the flu shot isn't as effective as doctor's hope, but this year that's not the case.
"This year's flu shot is definitely matching the strains that have been identified so far," said VDH Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Sarah Fenno.
Sarah Fenno with the Virginia Department of Health said while the flu is considered widespread, it's not exactly something to be scared about.
"It's for flu awareness," Fenno said. "So, to know that levels are increasing and to protect yourself: get vaccinated if you haven't already and take measures to prevent illness."
Fenno recommends the usual tips, such as wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes and stay home if you're sick.
This is all especially important during this peak season between December and March
"Because the weather is getting colder and the flu virus survives a lot better in cold temperatures," Fenno said.
The people most at risk are the elderly and young children, pregnant women and people with pre-existing conditions.
To prevent spreading or getting the flu, Patient First also recommends you should:
- Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, and wiping or blowing your nose.
- Use paper tissues when wiping or blowing your nose and throw them away after use.
- Cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow instead of into your bare hand.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as germs enter the body through these openings.
- Stay home if you have flu symptoms until you are fever-free without fever medicine for 24 hours.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Stay away from crowds, if possible.
- Get a flu shot. Fast Track Flu Shots are available at Patient First with little or no wait.
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