Flu cases in Boone County more than quadruple since last year

1 week 15 hours 14 minutes ago Monday, January 13 2020 Jan 13, 2020 Monday, January 13, 2020 7:28:00 PM CST January 13, 2020 in News
By: Marian Bouchot, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Flu season peaks between December and February, and already Boone County has seen 497 cases of it. At this time last year, there were just over 100 cases reported. Statewide there have been 11,171 cases.

The health department is unclear why there's been such a jump, but there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid the flu. Getting vaccinated is the first step. The community relations specialist for Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health, Lucio Bitoy, says he cannot stress enough the importance of getting your flu shot.

"Last season we had peak flu numbers in early February through March so as we are kind of approaching that time of the year now we just really want to stress the importance of getting your flu shot," Bitoy said. "And letting everyone know that it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to reach its peak efficiency so give yourself that kind of time especially if you're planning on travelling." 

Bitoy said some of the most susceptible to getting the flu are children under five, adults over 65, and anyone with a low immune system. Day-cares and preschools are common places where germs can easily spread. The owner of Academy of Early Childhood Learning in Columbia spoke out about how he puts his best foot forward to keeping the spaces clean.

"We sanitize everyday during nap time and we then we re-sanitize every night at close so everything is ready to go in the morning, and if we have a child that gets influenza then we immediately sanitize that room and all the toys," said owner Steve Wendling.

People infected with the flu may be able to infect others starting one day before symptoms show, and it takes up to five to seven days after becoming sick for those see those symptoms.

To find out more information about how to stay clear of the flu and how it spreads, check out the health department's website.

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