Health officials: Number of flu cases on the rise in Arizona

Health experts recommend washing or sanitizing hands often to avoid getting the flu. (Photo by Janie Hoyt/Cronkite News)

Flu cases in Arizona have increased compared to the same period last flu season. (Photo by Janie Hoyt/Cronkite News)

An antiviral drug, Tamiflu, is used in flu shots. (Photo by Janie Hoyt/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Arizona flu cases are on the rise in Arizona, up 28 percent since October compared to the same period last year, according the the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Jessica Rigler, who oversees public-health preparedness at the department, said 2016 was a “banner year for flu.

From October to mid-January, Arizona had 1,407 cases, compared to 1,110 during the same period in flu season last year. The season typically lasts through May.

“Flu is a really really unpredictable virus and every year the flu behaves a little bit differently,” Rigler said.

Health experts recommend preventative measures to avoid getting the bug:
It’s not too late to get a flu shot—“Even though we’ve already started seeing the flu this year, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get vaccinated, as we will continue to see the flu now for the next several months,” said Dr. Jon McGreevy, an emergency room physician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Wash your hands, a lot—Washing your hands frequently and wiping down potentially contaminated surfaces can also help lessen your chance of catching influenza, according to the Arizona Department of Health services.
If you do get sick, don’t tough it out—Stay home if you’re sick to avoid spreading the virus.