Flu Cases in North Shore Not an Epidemic, Yet
North Shore Health Department says this flu season, so far, is a "typical year."
"Went to bed Dec. 30 not feeling right, didn't get back up until the following Thursday," Katie Millar Bucholtz of Fox Point said on Facebook. "I missed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, front row courtside to the Globetrotters and a week of work. I was so sick I don't even remember being sick. Didn't get the flu shot. It was horrible and I'm glad it's over, although I still have a cough."
Flu cases in the Milwaukee area have increased to an "intense" level, significantly exceeding moderate levels in 2011-12, according to Google Flu Trends.
Wisconsin is among 42 states to have a widespread flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All 50 states are reporting symptoms, with Hawaii only reporting sporadic cases.
Kelly Herda in Bayside said she couldn't get the flu shot because she's allergic to eggs. She wound up sick around the same time, and for just as long as Bucholtz.
"I came down with it on Dec. 30 and I'm still dealing with the remnants of the cough and drippy sinus's," she said on Facebook. "First time I was so sick, I cried."
But even with these recounts of being couch and bed-ridden, Health Officer Jamie Berg with the North Shore Health Department said this is a fairly typical flu season in this area.
Berg said individual flu cases aren't reported unless someone is hospitalized, and quite a few people are never even diagnosed or tested. But while the word "epidemic" has been floating around the social media spheres, Berg said an epidemic is defined as a larger than expected number of cases in a particular area. So right now, there's just not telling what will happen.
"This flu season is a typical year," Berg said. "Flu is unpredictable and we do not know if this will turn into an epidemic. We haven’t seen a lot of flu cases in the last several years. While it may seem like there are more cases, this is actually more typical of a flu season."
Berg explained the best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated. Anyone older than six months should be vaccinated she said and people who think they may be sick should stay home when feeling ill, practice good hand washing, and properly cover coughs and sneezes.
"People should also take care of themselves with proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise," she said.
Where to Get a Flu Shot
While the best time to receive the influenza vaccination is in October and November, there are still flu shots available. If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in the Fox Point and Bayside area that offer the vaccine:
- CVS Pharmacy: 8661 N. Port Washington Rd., Fox Point
- CVS offers flu shots everyday in Fox Point. They also accept insurance and Medicare Part B. They have vaccines for both adults (including the new, smaller-needle intradermal vaccine for ages 18-64) and children 18 months old and younger. Walk-ins are welcome, but shoppers can also schedule appointments by clicking here.
- Walgreens: 8615 N. Port Washington Rd., Fox Point
- Flu vaccinations are available at the Fox Point Walgreens daily. Walk in anytime or schedule an appointment by clicking here. Most insurance accepted.
Flu symptoms are a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, coughs and sneezes, and a sore throat. You can find more information about the flu virus from the Center for Disease Control on: