ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) - The flu is officially here, and according to St. Louis County health officials, it’s come earlier than usual.
Last week, the number of reported flu cases skyrocketed. St. Louis County Health Department Epidemiologist Eleanor Peters explains, “We found 265 cases, which is over half of the amount of cases we’ve had so far, year to date. We’ve had 422 cases. So flu’s on the rise.”
The week before, there were just 86 cases. So far this year, more than one-third of those affected have been kids between age 5 and 14.
Even though the flu is already here, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
Walgreen's Pharmacist Claire Markus says they’ve been busy lately, helping people picking up flu medicine, and get people vaccinated. She says, “When we start to see that medication, we typically know that the flu season is coming, and that’s when we start talking to everyone we can about getting their flu shot, and getting prepared for that.”
The vaccine, in both shot and flu mist form, should be available at all Walgreen's, anytime the pharmacy is open. They cost $31.99, but are almost always covered by insurance.
The St. Louis County Health Department hopes to hold more vaccination clinics before the end of the year, as well.
To prevent the flu from spreading, remember to wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you’re sick.