Flu season appears in West Michigan; doctors urge flu shot

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  Doctors in West Michigan are asking people to do what they can to protect themselves from the influenza viruses.

"It’s something we have to worry about in West Michigan, as well as every part of the state," said Dr. Dan McGee with Spectrum Health.

Dr. McGee said influenza is currently affecting people across West Michigan and the flu season hasn't even peaked yet.

He said children and the elderly are most at risk, but there is still time to prevent further spread. Dr. McGee said people can still get flu shots, and children as young as six months old can get vaccinated for protection.

“107 children died from influenza last year," said Dr. McGee. "This year so far in Michigan, three children have died from influenza."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number one way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated.  Second, don't go to work sick.

"Stay home if you're sick," said Dr. McGee. "Don’t go to work and cough and sneeze on other people and number three, wash your hands.”

The CDC reports the flu vaccine is about 60% effective this year. In most cases, the flu will go away on its own, but there is medication that can help called Tamiflu.

"The important thing is, you need to get that medication within the first 48 hours of symptoms," said Dr. McGee. "It has been shown the virus does respond well to that medicine."

While some people may be concerned about the changing weather in West Michigan playing a role in getting sick, Mr. McGee said there is no real impact. He said it's only cold weather that can be connected to more illnesses.

"Because we’re all inside with windows closed, sneezing and coughing on each other instead of being outside, windows open or being further apart from one another," said Dr. McGee.

For more information on influenza, visit the CDC's website here.

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2 comments

  • Common Cents

    Educate yourself on the flu shot and you’ll never get one. Look on youtube for “Dr. John Bergman Flu Vaccine” and watch the one-hour video if you are considering getting this poison injected into you.

  • Brian

    Major news outlets (including cable FOX News) have been informing that this year’s vaccine may be relatively ineffective, as low as 10 to 30%. I don’t know where Fox 17 got the 60% figure referenced above. The advice is to still get the vaccine anyway, because the predominant virus sometimes changes as the flu season goes on, and even if the strains covered by this year’s vaccine aren’t the right ones, it may still reduce the symptoms and duration of the illness…. although, I’m not sure how much evidence there is in the literature to support that contention. People warn about uncertainties with effects of these vaccines. What is certain is that getting the flu can damage your health long after the illness is over. You lose muscle, and as athletes know, it can take weeks to return to normal energy and strength.