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Flu Cases Are Skyrocketing in the Garden State

Yes it’s flu season, but this year’s strain is particularly brutal


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Photo courtesy the New Jersey Department of Health

Not only did snow hit most of NJ over the weekend, but the flu did, too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it shows no signs of leaving anytime soon.

The number of flu cases throughout NJ has spiked since Christmas, the above image from the New Jersey Department of Health shows it has spread across the state. 

“Monmouth is definitely the major hot bed in the state,” Margaret Fisher, MD, medical director of Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, told New Jersey Family.  “And the numbers are going to continue to rise with kids back in school.”

And the rest of the NJ isn’t fairing so well, either. Many schools throughout the state are reporting higher numbers of sick kids than usual. One elementary school in Bergen County had more than 90 kids out yesterday. The school’s principal sent parents a note letting them know the custodial staff is installing hand sanitizers in each classroom and the nurse is visiting classes to reinforce the importance of kids’ washing their hands.

“School-aged kids, especially preschoolers spread epidemics like the flu the quickest since they’re usually less hygienic,” says Fisher. “They’re much more likely to put their hands in the mouth and share germs.”

According to the CDC, NJ has one of the highest rates in the US this year, but there are still ways to prevent coming in contact with the flu.

“Doctors still aren’t able to tell for sure which kinds of strains are wreaking the most havoc yet,” explains Fisher. “It’s important that everyone gets the flu shot—it’s still widely available and even if you still get the flu you’re likely to get a way more modified version.” In other words, get the flu shot  ASAP if your house hasn't been hit yet.

Don’t forget to remind your kids of the basics like  always washing hands, coughing into their arm and never sharing drinks or food with anyone.

Curious to see how hard your area has been hit by the flu? Check out the map at state.nj.us/health.

 

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