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Flu season ramps up in two of Utah’s neighboring states

The CDC updates tracking for influenza weekly. Currently, the agency reports 11 states have flu outbreaks. Photo: CDC

SALT LAKE CITY — The Centers for Disease Control reports 11 states currently experiencing flu outbreaks, including Idaho and Nevada, two of Utah’s neighbors. Doctors say that means we could see flu season pick up here very soon.

Already, the CDC says flu killed two patients in Nevada and put another 60 people in the hospital.

Utah Department of Health Educator Rebecca Ward says we don’t have as many cases here yet, but the sooner you get your flu shot, the better. It can take up to two weeks to fully protect you, and flu season peaks between December and February.

“The flu actually comes on pretty suddenly, and you really feel terrible rather quickly — probably within one to two days of being exposed,” Ward said.

As of last Monday, flu hospitalized 13 people in Utah so far.

“The flu vaccine changes to match the particular strains that are circulating. Just because you got one last year, doesn’t mean you don’t need one this year,” Ward said.

Dr Nick Duncan at Intermountain Healthcare’s Cottonwood Family Medicine says this isn’t just a fever and getting better.

“The flu puts people in the hospital every year, and it actually leads to death in many cases,” he said.

Dr Duncan tries to find out what may be keeping someone from getting immunized, and then he can address those concerns or correct any misconceptions.

He says the flu shot will lessen the severity if you do get the virus.

“There are lots of cases where it does prevent the flu, we just don’t know it, because you don’t report ‘I didn’t get the flu.’ We don’t know if we’ve been exposed or not,” he said.