Ingham County sees sharp increase in flu cases

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s more than just a cold, it’s a fever, a cough and your body will ache all over.

When you hit that trifecta, that’s when you know you have the flu.

According to Ingham County Health Department Director Linda Vail, the virus has only started to hit here in mid-Michigan.

“It looks like we’re going to have an earlier flu season peak than we typically have because it looks like our numbers are going up fairly sharply right now, which is a little early,” Vail said. “It looks like it’s probably going to be a worse flu season than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

What Vail means by worse, is that we are likely going to see more cases of the flu than in recent years.

But at this point it’s just a trend, and Vail says the next couple of weeks are going to be important to watch.

“What we do is we have something that tells us a gauge of whats going on with the flu season, and we don’t ever have really an exact number of flu cases in the county,” Vail said. “The only reportable flu is infant deaths and we haven’t had any of those.”

Unfortunately, this year’s flu has been deadly in other areas of the country. According to the CDC, 30 infant deaths have been attributed to the virus since October.

Some medical professionals say that has to do with it being a harsher strain of the virus. However, when asked why this particular strain has been so deadly, Vail said it can be hard to tell.

“There’s generally not a lot of explanation as to why this year it was more deadly than it was the previous year,” Vail said. “It just is the nature of how the flu kind of moves around on us.”

However, Vail says there are still ways to protect yourself from getting sick. She says you can still get your flu vaccination, and at the very least it could help lessen your symptoms if you do get sick.

Other things you should do to prevent spreading the virus include washing your hands regularly, covering your cough and staying home if you’re sick.