Utah facing more flu cases this year

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-04 19:42:40-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah is facing one of its worst flu seasons in years, and those numbers have spiked in the last few weeks.

The number of people diagnosed with influenza soared from levels considered low to high in December, and the numbers are much higher than last year.

"The influenza-like illness activity is a lot higher than it has been in recent years," said epidemiologist Theron Jeppson.

Hospitalizations are also up, particularly among the groups most vulnerable to the flu:

  • 25 percent of those hospitalized are infants or toddlers up to 4 years old.
  • 31 percent are over 65 years old.

Young, healthy people aren't being sent to the hospital, and Dr. Troy Madsen says that while you may feel like you're going to die, you're not going to. He says that those with flu symptoms should stay away from other people.

"It's better to keep the illness to yourself," Madsen said. "Stay home and practice good respiratory etiquette. Cough into your arm. Wash your hands regularly."

To keep the fever away, alternate taking ibuprofen and Tylenol every three hours. The drugs work differently, so you can double up without exceeding healthy doses.

And make sure you get your flu shot, especially now that the flu season is really kicking into gear. It takes a few weeks to be fully effective, so hygiene is still crucial.