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Flu cases spike in county

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jan 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 14:37:28-05

Flu season came fast and hard this year, and as kids are headed back into classrooms next week, doctors are urging people to get vaccinated.

"It's not too late," Dr. Terry Vondrak said. "Get out there and get your flu shot."

He's a pediatrician at Desert Pediatrics. The idea that people can get the flu from a flu shot is wrong, according to the doctor. He says getting the shot, combined with good hygiene practices, is the best defense. 

If a child is sick with the flu, he urges parents to keep them home and out of school, so the virus doesn't spread even more than it has already.

"The parents should keep them home. Absolutely. It'll spread, it spreads very quickly if they go to school," he said. "The flu is spread by droplet spread, by coughing and sneezing from one person to another. Children in school, they can pass things from one to another very easily. Influenza is most prevalent among school-age children, for sure."

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports since Oct. 1, there have been 7,978 influenza cases reported. 2,453 of those cases were reported in the last week of December. Last year, they reported there were 834 cases at this time, and 282 in the last week of December. The DHS also reports in Pima County, 967 cases have been diagnosed.

Marilou Lopez got her flu shot and made sure her grandchild got one as well. When she heard about the increase in flu activity, she was stunned.

"It's really scary," she said. "And I hope that whatever vaccine that we're getting is the one that counts."

While it isn't 100% effective, Lopez says there was no way they wouldn't take this precaution.

"It's a precaution. I mean, if he's going to get sick, he's going to get sick, it's kind of inevitable," she said. "But, good hygiene and vaccinations really help."