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Wisconsin health officials: Flu season hits early, but not as bad as 2017

Posted at 5:52 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 00:20:52-05

More hospitals in southeast Wisconsin are prohbiting kids under the age of 12 from visiting.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, along with Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin birth centers, all now have similar bans in part to prevent the spread of flu.

The Centers for Disease Control says the flu is here early, and they expect flu numbers to rise as the season continues.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, flue cases are higher than normal for this time of year, but not as bad as the record-setting 2017-2018 season. The department says there have been 177 flu hospitalizations to date, up from 60 at this time last year.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin says 120 kids tested positive for the flu this month, up from 10 last December.

Dr. Nicole Fortuna at Sixteenth Street Community Health Center says it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"Having the flu shot, even if you get exposed to the flu tomorrow, your body is going to be more primed and ready to fight off the flu," Fortuna said. "You may still get sick but you're less likely to have a severe illness."

At Hayat Pharmacy on North Avenue, pharmacist Mazen Seddick says the early flu shot rush is over, but he's still giving one or two vaccinations a day.

"They'll say, is it too late to get the flu shot now?" Seddick said. "I'm going to do it, that's what a patient from yesterday said."

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough and sore throat. You can still get a flu shot at urgent care, health centers or your local pharmacy.