(WWJ) Health officials say nine people have died of the flu in Oakland County in what is the longest flu season in the last ten years.
Releasing the numbers on Tuesday, the Oakland County Health Division said 174 people have been hospitalized and there have been 3,700 flu cases confirmed within the county over the past eight months.
While the weather is turning, Leigh Anne Stafford, health officer for the OCHD, said we're mot out of the woods yet.
“While flu is most common in the fall and winter, it can still be detected during the summer months,” said Leigh Anne Stafford, health officer for the Health Division. “Get vaccinated every year and practice healthy hygiene habits such as washing hands often."
The Health Division recommends these preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
• Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year.• Stay home when you are sick.• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill.
Those who are at a higher risk of life-threatening flu complications are children younger than five years, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic medical conditions.
The flu virus can spread to others up to six feet away, mainly by airborne droplets made when individuals with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of the flu, which often come on suddenly, include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and -- more common in children -- vomiting and diarrhea.
If you haven't gotten your flu shot this year, it may not be too late, so ask your doctor.
Questions? Call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.