HAMILTON – Flu cases are starting to pick up after a slow start to the season as everyone returns from their holiday breaks.
Numbers from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services show that as of December 29, 274 cases have been reported in the state with 19 hospitalization and two deaths.
Ravalli County has seen 57 reported cases so far resulting in two hospitalizations. Florence Carlton school officials also recently alerted parents that influenza was on the rise in the Bitterroot.
Ravalli County health officials say that to combat the spread of the virus people should use good hand hygiene and if they are feeling ill they should stay home from work or school.
Ravalli County Public Health Nurse Angie Allen also says that if you feel like you need medical treatment to seek it immediately — before it’s too late.
“If you are experiencing symptoms of the flu which is a high fever, a cough, fatigue, muscle aches then the best bet for you to get treated for the flu is to be seen within 48 hours of your symptom onset,” Allen advised.
“You would be treated with antivirals possibly and they are going to hopefully shorten the duration, the severity and the possibility of getting a secondary infection.,” she added.
It’s not too late to get a flu shot and Allen especially recommends that everyone in the high-risk populations to receive their flu shots as quickly as possible.
The most common strain for the year is the influenza A H1N1. Click here to view the latest flu activity report for Montana.