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Flu outbreak reaches 'acceleration stage' in Wisconsin

Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 19:31:17-05

MILWAUKEE — MILWAUKEE -- Dozens of people were hospitalized around the state for the flu Wednesday and many more checked in Thursday.

The strain hitting Southeast Wisconsin is H1N1, this affects kids most.

Julia Watson has a 2-year-old son and a 2-month-old daughter and she's trying to do everything she can to keep her family healthy.

"A big thing is trying to get outside everyday even if it's cold out to try to get fresh air and out of the germy house," said Julia Watson.

The Watson's were thankful to be outside since their 2-year-old had a fever yesterday.

"We just monitored him, gave him some Tylenol," said Watson.

They're also using hand sanitzer more often, something the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Tom Haupt said actually helps from spreading the flu.

"Just this past week influenza has reached what we call the acceleration stage," said Tom Haupt.

28 people were hospitalized for the flu in Wisconsin Wednesday. In recent years, older adults have been most at risk, but this year Hapt said it's children.

"It's called H1 or the H1N1 virus.... Everybody's susceptible to it, but again the younger population tends to be hit a little bit harder with this particular virus," said Haupt.

The flu expert said people with underlying illness aren't the only one's who should see a doctor if symptoms arise.

"When you become ill with what seems to be the flu and then you get better, but then a couple days later you come down with a more severe form of pneumonia, cough, that's usually indicative of a secondary infection and that's where you really need to contact your physician right away," said Haupt.

The Department of Health Services said Southeast Wisconsin will likely see more cases of the flu for another four to six weeks and it will probably get worse by the day.

The Watson's hope their trips outside will help them avoid a visit to the doctor.

"Any day now it could strike our family so we're trying to enjoy the moment as much as we can while we're still healthy," said Watson.

The Health Department said it's important to practice good hygiene this time of year. Start by:

Health experts said it's not too late to get the flu shot. They're hopeful this year's vaccine is more effective than last year's.