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Flu Season Off to an Early Start in Flathead County
In Flathead County there were 244 confirmed cases of the flu as of Jan. 14
 Flu activity in Flathead County and across the country is picking up and officials are recommending people get vaccinated. In Montana, 57 people have been hospitalized and one person has died since Jan. 4.

In Flathead County there were 244 confirmed cases of the flu as of Jan. 14 and health officer Joe Russell said it could continue to rise.

“We’re seeing normal (infection) numbers, it’s just a lot earlier,” Russell said, adding the flu season usually peaks in February or March. “If it continues like this then we will see a lot more infections this season.”

Officials with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said the 2013 flu season could be the state’s worst in four years. Russell said people should wash their hands often, cover their mouth when they cough and stay home if they are sick.

“If you’re feeling ill or achy don’t just assume it’s a cold,” he said. “If you have the flu, stay home and get better.”

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and, especially in children, stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. People usually become ill one to three days after being infected. Most adults are infectious one day before they show any symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu shots are currently available from the Flathead City-County Health Department. For more information, call (406) 751-8101.
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