This season's flu outbreak numbers are ahead of last year's - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

This season's flu outbreak numbers are ahead of last year's

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Nearly one thousand cases of influenza activity have been reported since the start of winter season. 175 Montanans have been hospitalized and 10 have died from the flu. One of those deaths came from Yellowstone County. Those numbers from Riverstone Health this season are two weeks ahead of last season's.

Kim Bailey is the program manager for Community Health Services and said the amount of influenza activity are typically seen more in the elderly and kids.

Bailey said every year, it is not unheard of to have between two and seven deaths from flu-related sicknesses. She said the best prevention is getting vaccinated, but you should also make sure to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and keep a social distance if you feel ill. She also said if you've heard you can get the flu from a flu shot, it is not true. In fact, it takes two weeks for the flu shot to be effective and you are still vulnerable to catching a flu between that time.

"You might not know that you're sick with the flu and you could be transmitting it to really vulnerable populations of people," Bailey said. "That's why we would like people, including healthcare workers, to be vaccinated. People who are around babies and small children all the time. We want everybody to be vaccinated because that helps to protect them from getting the flu."

Bailey said if you feel ill, stay at home. She says the numbers of people with influenza is not exact because many people have milder cases of the flu and don't see a doctor.

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