WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The holidays bring families together and possibly all their illnesses. The CDC says the flu activity is increasing across the country and here in the Ozarks as well.
The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control say cases of flu and flu-like illness are on the increase.
It says eleven states are currently experiencing a severe or moderate flu-like illness, including Arkansas and Missouri.
That's only two weeks after both Missouri and Arkansas fell below the minimum activity rating.
Here in Missouri, there were nearly 2,600 positive cases of influenza this year, of which nearly 400 were reported between the 9th and 1
In Arkansas, 46 districts reported cases.
The doctor Sonia Browning-Gerlick, doctor of the Ozarks Medical Center in the emergency room, says cleanliness is a priority during the holidays.
"Usually, the main concern this time of year is that there are so many gatherings of families, people, and individuals, it's much easier to spread the viruses and make other people ill."
She says infants and toddlers as well as the elderly are the most vulnerable.
"The majority of the flu is actually a respiratory disease, sometimes it can lead to GI symptoms, and when people start to get breathless, they have a fever that does not come down." Very high, when they vomit and Holding no liquid would be grounds to be seen immediately, "said Browning, Gerlick said.
There's still time for a flu shot, but even if you did, you still need to protect yourself.
" You So, always wash your hands when someone wipes their nose, when you sneeze or rub. When you come into contact with body fluid, you should always wash your hands. Wash your hands before eating. Wash hands before touching small children, "Browning-Gerlick added.
The good news – this year, the number of flu-related deaths has dropped significantly compared to last year.
Missouri reports two Influenza deaths while Arkansas has five.
Nationally, the CDC reports 7 pediatric flu-related deaths.
And when you travel, the CDC says the virus hits the southeastern United States hardest .