KALAMAZOO – The 2018-19 flu season had a relatively mild start, but doctors warn they are seeing more cases across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 19 states experienced high numbers of flu cases in January. Michigan was in the moderate zone as of the end of December, and reported one pediatric flu death this season. There were 13 total across the county.
Doctors with the CDC warned a significant increase in flu-related activity is expected through January.
In West Michigan, the director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology at Bronson told Newschannel 3 they saw a slow and steady increase in flu cases before January.
The hospital enacted their flu prevention rules last week, which happens each year when they believe flu season is in full swing. Those seasonal rules limit visitors, especially children, to prevent the virus from spreading.
Dr. Richard Van Enk told Newschannel 3 while they can’t predict where the season will head, he has been pleased so far.
“It’s very difficult, at this point, to predict what’s going to happen in the rest of the month. But at this point, we are very happy that it’s a fairly mild year and it’s not stressing the health care system very much right now,” said Dr. Van Enk.
Van Enk said that flu season can last well into the Spring, so it is important to follow guidelines like hand washing and covering coughs, to prevent the virus from spreading. He also said it is not too late to get your flu shot.