MASON COUNTY — According to a release from the Mason County Health Department, the number of Mason County residents seeking treatment for the flu and flu-related illnesses has seemed to stop increasing, but is still elevated compared to previous seasons.
For the week ending on Jan. 19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released information stating influenza symptoms for the state has stopped increasing, but is still elevated. Health department staff stated Mason County reflects these state numbers, with physicians’ offices reporting a steady number of patients with flu symptoms for the last three weeks with no major increases or decreases.
Each week, the Mason County Board of Education also informs the health department of school absenteeism for evaluation. According to this information, since school resumed after Christmas break, there have only been one or two days of increased absenteeism in a few schools. The percentage of absent students has remained about the same each week.
Health department staff stated while some may think influenza season is passing, the CDC stated the season typically lasts through February or sometimes even later and is reminding citizens that vaccinations are still available. The Mason County Health Department is offering an evening immunization clinic and will be offering influenza vaccine as well as all vaccines. The evening clinic will be held on from 3-6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, at the health department. Locals are reminded to bring your shot record. This is also an ideal time for parents of children who needed the second influenza vaccine to get fully protected.
Due to this increased flu activity this season, the health department had a few days where their vaccine supply ran out but was replaced quickly. The first two weeks of January, the health department gave twice as many vaccines as they gave the entire month of December.
If you are late in getting your flu shot, there are measures you can take until the immunity develops to protect yourself and others, including covering your cough or sneeze with your sleeve; washing your hands; staying home if you are sick; and avoiding large crowds if possible.
According to the health department, most influenza vaccinations are given at the health department, private providers and pharmacies early in the fall and normally takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to help the body build an immunity from circulating viruses.