MADISON -- Nearly 400 people in Wisconsin died from the flu during the 2017-2018 flu season, state health officials said Monday.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said 7,520 people in Wisconsin were hospitalized due to flu-related complications, and 379 people died, which is twice as many as the year before, including three children.
In a news release, DHS encouraged residents to get a flu shot to protect their families, communities and themselves.
Only 36 percent of state residents got the flu shot last year, so "there is room for improvement this flu season," State Health Officer Karen McKeown said in the release.
Officials said getting the flu shot can help prevent the flu and greatly reduce symptoms for anyone who does catch the flu, shortening time away from work or school.
DHS provided a link to a website, the Vaccine Finder, that can help people find a pharmacy nearby providing flu shots.
Other simple steps to help avoid spreading the flu and other viruses include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
- Use your own drinking cups and straws.
- Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
- Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, the refrigerator handle, telephones and faucets.
- If you’re sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
- See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.