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Mid-Missouri sees high number of flu cases this year

Mid-Missouri is seeing an increase in flu cases compared to the same time last year.

According to the Columbia/Boone County Health & Human Services Department, 240 flu cases in Boone County have been verified by lab results and reported between Oct. 1 and Dec. 16. 94 of the cases were reported between Dec. 10 and Dec. 16.

The Cole County Health Department said it had 124 reported cases of the flu between Oct. 1 and Dec. 16. During the same time frame last year, the department had 18 reported cases.

In Missouri, 5,715 cases of the flu have been confirmed; 1,630 of them were confirmed from Dec. 10 to 16.

Eric Stann, with the Boone County Health Department said it is not too late to get the flu shot.

“The season typically peaks from end of December to February, so now is a great time to get a flu shot, especially with people traveling over the holidays,” Stann said. “It takes about two weeks for your body to develop the protection after receiving the flu shot to fight against the flu.”

There is a chance a person who got the flu vaccine can still be infected by the virus.

“Even if you get the flu shot, you can still get sick with the flu but it’s often a much milder case and your body tends to recover quicker if you have the flu shot than if you are a person who did not get the flu shot at all,” Stann said.

Year-round, but especially during heavy travel periods, such as the holidays, health officials say practicing good hygiene is the key to staying healthy.

“Staying home when you’re sick, avoiding contact with sick people, using soap and water,” Stann said. “Also, don’t cough into hands. Cough into elbow or sleeve. If you cough or sneeze into your hand and touch something, you can potentially infect someone else in the future.”

The Boone County Health Department offers free flu vaccines for people aged 6 months to 18 years.

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