Marion County Health Department reports spike in flu cases

Flu vaccine. (Courtesy: Shutterstock / Numstocker)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The Marion County Health Department says they are seeing an increase in the number of patients seeking treatment in hospital emergency departments for influenza-like illness.

For the week ending March 2, patients reporting flu-like symptoms were 3.6 percent of all emergency department visits in Marion County, an increase from the previous week.

The rate among 5-17 year olds was the highest at 8.6 percent of all emergency department visits, while the rate among those under the age of 5 was 6.3 percent.

The Health Department recommends the following tips to prevent becoming infected with the flu:

  • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late.
  • If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible and avoid people who are sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Individuals who are at the highest risk for experiencing complications of influenza:

  • Children less than two years old and adults older than age 65.
  • Individuals with an impaired immune system.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
  • Individuals who are obese.
  • Women who are pregnant or during the first two weeks after giving birth.

For more information on immunizations through the Marion County Public Health Department, call (317) 221-2122.