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State health officials encourage everyone to get vaccinated against the flu now

Flu shot (Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE — Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have joined the CDC and others in encouraging everyone 6 months and up to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.

DHS officials are reminding people about last year’s flu season, during which 379 people died in Wisconsin, and 7,530 were hospitalized as a result of flu-related complications. They said only 36 percent of people in the state received flu shots.

“The dangers of the flu are real, especially for the very young, for older adults, and for those with other health problems. Getting a flu shot helps protects not only you, but also your loved ones, friends, and neighbors, and this year we are asking everyone to pitch in and help,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown in a news release.

CLICK HERE to access a “Flu Vaccine Finder” which can help you locate a pharmacy near you that is offering flu shots.

Meanwhile, DHS officials offered these steps to avoid spreading the flu and other viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).If you’re sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.

The state will begin offering 2018 flu stats on Oct. 12.