Flu season off to an early start around Mid-Michigan

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CLIO (WJRT) - (10/06/17) - The Oakland County Health department is reporting a death tied to the flu.

Flu vaccine

While not much information is known about the elderly person who died, it is sparking a call to take action against the virus.

October usually marks the beginning of flu season. This year, it started several weeks earlier than normal, making it even more important to take all precautions from getting ill.

Mid-Michigan doctor's offices and urgent care have noticed an early uptick in flu cases this season.

"Normally flu season is between October and May. It started in September. A couple of weeks ago I saw a few positive 'A' flu," said physician's assistant Gary Fannon of AMD Urgent Care in Clio.

The flu can easily be transmitted by coming in contact with someone who is coughing or sneezing, or even touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.

Heather Jimenez, a Clio resident, came into AMD Urgent Care with her son.

"As a truck driver, I don't know. I'm exposed to it all over the state," she said. "So, whatever it is everywhere, I'm exposed to it, and I think I manage pretty well. I get sick about once a year."

There are two types of flu to be aware of.

"(The) 'A' strain has the muscle aches, the headache, fatigue, just don't feel good. The 'B' strain normally comes with the vomiting and diarrhea," Fannon said.

Flu shots contain protection from multiple versions of the virus, but are not 100 percent effective if people get infected by other strains not in the shot.

Fannon, like many health care professionals, recommends getting a flu shot.

"It saves you a lot of headache and a lot of pain," he said. "If it doesn't, I mean, it doesn't hurt you to get it."

Still there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting the flu.

"Just wash your hands, you know, be cautious. Touching your face, that's kind of how you spread it. Touch the virus, touch your face, you got it," Fannon said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of all U.S. adults received a flu shot.

Aside from washing hands often or using sanitizers, getting plenty of rest and eating properly and exercise can help boost your immune system.

That, in turn, can help fight off, or lessen the severity even if you get sick.

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