CDC expecting worst flu season in years
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Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Hospitals across the country are becoming overwhelmed by this year's flu outbreak and the vaccine is getting harder to obtain.
So far, more than 128 million doses have been distributed nationwide. Pharmacists are also having a tough time filling prescriptions for Tamiflu, the drug given for patients after they have already contracted the flu.
In some parts of the country, schools are being closed as a precaution.
In one Wisconsin school district, administrators say one out of every five students is currently out with the virus.
And an entire district in Oklahoma has canceled classes after a quarter of the students stayed home sick.
It's not just kids that are getting sick though. It is also many adults and it is costing employers and businesses big time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this year's flu season will likely cost businesses nearly $10.5 billion in hospitalization and outpatient visits alone. That doesn't even include costs like sick pay and lost productivity.
The reason that flu cases spike in the winter is that people spend more times indoors and that makes it more likely to spread.
The CDC says this flu season could be the longest and the worst in years. The flu is widespread in 47 states.
Nationwide, 206 people have already died, including 20 children. Close to 2,500 hundred people have been hospitalized.
The Southern Nevada Health District has confirmed 22 cases of influenza so far in Nevada.
Symptoms of the flu include a high fever, sore throat, stuffy nose and dry cough.
The flu normally takes about a week to run its course.
Doctors say that the best way to avoid getting flu is by getting a flu shot.
Here are some other tips that may also help:
-- Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
-- Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
-- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
-- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-- Stay home if sick.
At this time, there is not a shortage of the flu vaccine here in the Las Vegas Valley.
Shots are given at SNHD, most pharmacies and doctor's offices.
Flu shots are $28 ($56 for the high-dose vaccine for people 65+) and are available at the following health district locations:
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
-- Main Public Health Center, 330 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas
-- North Las Vegas Public Health Center, 955 W. Craig Rd., Ste. 103D, North Las Vegas (North Las Vegas is closed daily from 12:30 p – 1 p for lunch)
Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
-- East Las Vegas Public Health Center, 560 N. Nellis Blvd., Ste. E12, Las Vegas
-- Henderson Public Health Center, 520 E. Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson
Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. CLOSED for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
-- Mesquite Public Health Center, 830 Hafen Lane, Mesquite