PARKERSBURG - Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department officials say some local flu cases have been confirmed this season.
"The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department region has not seen any cases of flu confirmed by the state Office of Laboratory Services yet this season, although some infections have been rapid-test confirmed locally," said Jessica Woods, regional epidemiologist at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.
"Cases of influenza-like-illness have not increased significantly from the beginning of the flu season in the MOV region. The level of flu activity in the state as a whole is still characterized as sporadic. Thus far, the flu season appears to be following the more typical trend of peaking in late January and February," Woods said.
Jessica Woods, regional epidemiologist at the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department, offered a few tips for staying healthy this winter season.
The local health department is still offering flu shots; the fee is $20 and many types of health insurance are accepted.
Woods offered the following tips to help residents stay healthy this winter season.
* Wash your hands often and well. Soap and water are always best, but use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
* Always cover coughs and sneezes. The best way to do this is to cough or sneeze into a tissue. If there is not a tissue available, your upper sleeve works well, too.
* Clean and disinfect your home regularly, focusing on areas touched frequently such as doorknobs, kitchen counters and computer keyboards.
* Take care of yourself: get enough sleep, eat healthy, and stay physically active.
* Stay away from sick friends and family, and stay home while you are sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season, according to CDC officials.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses.
According to the CDC, the flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills; cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches; headaches; fatigue.
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. CDC officials note not everyone with the flu will have a fever.