The dreaded flu season is here: time to break out the Lysol spray and gallon-sized hand sanitizer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nebraska was one of 43 states with reported widespread flu activity.
So far this season, three influenza associated deaths have been reported by the state.
The most prominent flu strain Nebraska is facing this year is influenza A. According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 45 percent of cases are influenza A H3 while 51 percent are influenza with no identified subtype.
H3 is often more severe for young children and elderly adults.
In their latest surveillance report, results show the number of flu tests performed increased by 41 percent and the number of positive tests increased by 32 percent.
There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B and C.
Type A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics among humans, generally between October and May in the United States. Wild aquatic birds are the natural hosts for all known influenza type A viruses. This virus can infect people, birds, pigs, horses, dogs, marine mammals, and other animals.
To help prevent the flu, Melissa Grummert, clinic nurse director at the Thayer County Clinic, recommends that people remember to always wash their hands, cover their mouth when they cough and to wear a mask if they come into the clinic.
She also suggests getting a flu shot if you haven’t had one yet: an injection that covers several different strains.
For those who think they might have the flu, Grummert recommends going to the doctor to get tested but to otherwise stay home.
“If you’re running a fever, don’t go out amongst other people,” said Grummert.
For more information on the current influenza outbreak, contact or visit websites for the CDC and DHHS.