Health department: Influenza activity increasing across Montana

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Feeling under the weather recently?

It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between a full-fledged flu case and a bad cold.

"The number of cases at this point is high enough that we are concerned and we're certainly feeling the impact", she said.

Lamont said overcrowding at Winnipeg hospitals has only made the flu problem worse, with over 100 confirmed cases through lab testing having been reported, and said many cases go unreported.

Before restricting visitation, Wellmont and Mountain States hospitals were already using precautions that include providing masks at each entrance and registration area and designating separate waiting areas for patients experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms. He estimates that the agency serves roughly 5,000 seniors - some of the people in the community who are most vulnerable to the flu - whether at facilities around town or through home visits and meal deliveries.

While holiday activity could jump start the number of flu cases seen in the state, new infections will continue well into the spring.

That's not to say getting the vaccine guarantees you won't get the flu. "Now is the time". The state's Department of Health is reporting "widespread" cases of flu, which is the highest activity level. Many workplaces also offer flu vaccination clinics for employees.

The flu is on the rise in Hamilton, prompting the city's public health services to renew calls for people to get vaccinated. The rates are even lower, closer to 43 per cent, among the health-care providers who are in regular contact with those most susceptible to the virus.

As a bonus, when you are vaccinated, you are contributing to the immunity of the "herd", meaning that the more members vaccinated the less the disease spreads and the greater the protection afforded to the younger and older members of the population.

"Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands", Hickey said.

She also stressed avoiding touching the T-zone on your face - the eyes, nose and mouth. The bug is spread from person to person through germs in the stool or vomit of infected people.

The CDC released this image Friday with their weekly flu report.

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