The number of flu cases in Wisconsin is on the rise, according to the state’s Department of Health Services, and it says older adults are being especially affected this year.
Dr. Bridget Pfaff, Director of Infection Control at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse says that Western Wisconsin is no exception.
“We’re definitely not immune,” she said. “Individuals who are out in our community have been diagnosed with the real influenza.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there have been 161 cases of influenza this season, and 95 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
Of those 95 hospitalizations, 78 people were at least 50 years old.
Healthcare professionals say while the flu can be an inconvenience for kids and younger adults, it can lead to more serious problems in the elderly.
“What might be the flu to you or I that causes us to have to crawl in bed for a week, for grandma or grandpa it might be the item that pushes them over the edge on their chronic illnesses and requires hospitalization,” said Pfaff.
The Wisconsin Health Department says it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.
This year the CDC is recommending that people don’t get the nasal spray after it found it to be ineffective.
“That’s caused some confusion because the nasal spray certainly was a good alternative for some people, especially those people who say, ‘hey I liked that because I have a fear of needles,'” said Pfaff. “We do have some alternatives with shorter or intradermal needles.”
In addition to the vaccine, Pfaff also encourages people to pay attention to hygiene, eat nutritious meals and get plenty of sleep.