News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Influenza has arrived in northwest Michigan
It's still not too late for flu vaccine

(January 25, 2011) Flu cases are on the increase in northwest Michigan, according to public health officials.

"Flu activity typically peaks sometime between late January and late February," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "It looks like we'll see that pattern again this flu season."

The single best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated every year. "The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older," Meyerson said, noting that it is not too late in the season to get vaccinated against the flu.

Other actions to take to avoid the flu are:

Influenza viruses are spread when someone who is sick with the flu coughs, sneezes, or speaks, releasing viruses into the air for other people to breathe. When these viruses enter the nose, throat, or lungs, they begin to multiply, causing disease. The viruses can also be spread when a person touches a surface with flu viruses on it and then touches his/her nose or mouth.

Adults can be contagious from one day before feeling sick to up to seven days after getting sick. Children can be contagious for longer than seven days.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information, or to schedule a flu vaccine appointment, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121. Vaccine is $15; Medicare and Medicaid accepted. No one is turned away for inability to pay.