Flu season proving deadly, number of cases on the rise - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Flu season proving deadly, number of cases on the rise

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

The Centers for Disease Control say the flu is running rampant across the country, as 46 states are reporting high numbers of cases.

In California, there have been 27 flu related deaths among patients younger than 65, prompting health officials to encourage anyone experiencing extreme symptoms to seek medical attention immediately.

Within the Coulee Region, doctors say while the number of cases remains high, the east side of the state is experiencing a worse season--so far.

"We're starting to see increased activity in our region, but hopefully we'll be continuing at a lower rate than other parts of the state and other states," Marilyn Michels, a Infection Preventionist at Gundersen Health System, said. 

Michels says the H3N2 strain of the virus is becoming more virulent and as a result, is responsible for the majority of flu-related deaths across the nation.

"It's a common strain we always have but it shifts from year to year and it kind of did that this year which is why we think this flu season is more severe than in years past."

Doctors encourage anyone experiencing fever, cough, chills, sore throat or body aches to stay home to prevent the virus from spreading. They also recommend getting a flu shot, despite claims this year's vaccine is not as effective as hoped.

"A little bit of protection is better than no protection," Jo Foellmi, a public health nurse with La Crosse County, said. "Getting the flu shot will lessen your symptoms and the duration you could be sick."

Foellmi also recommends using an antiviral if you feel symptoms of influenza coming on. It too, will lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of the virus. However, she warns you must begin taking the antiviral within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms for it to be effective.

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