Flu cases in the Milwaukee area have increased to an "intense" level, significantly exceeding moderate levels in 2011-12, according to Google Flu Trends.
Wisconsin is among 42 states to have a widespread flu outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All 50 states are reporting symptoms, with Hawaii only reporting sporadic cases.
In response to a Facebook question on how the flu has affected their house, Jan Eder and Nancy Peske said neither have ran into the bug this year.
In fact, Peske said she uses a combination of vitamins while Eder said she has got a flu shot every year for the past 36, and hasn't got sick from influenza over that time span.
Health Officer Jamie Berg with the North Shore Health Department said the best protection against the flu is getting vaccinated. Anyone older than six months should be vaccinated she said and people who think they may be sick should stay home when feeling ill, practice good hand washing, and properly cover coughs and sneezes.
"People should also take care of themselves with proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise," she said.
Berg characterized this year as a fairly typical flu season in this area.
Individual flu cases aren't reported unless someone is hospitalized, and quite a few people are never even diagnosed or tested, she said. But while the word "epidemic" has been floating, Berg said an epidemic is defined as a larger than expected number of cases in a particular area. So right now, there's just not telling what will happen.
"This flu season is a typical year," Berg said. "Flu is unpredictable and we do not know if this will turn into an epidemic. We haven’t seen a lot of flu cases in the last several years. While it may seem like there are more cases, this is actually more typical of a flu season."
Where to get a flu shot
While the best time to receive the influenza vaccination is in October and November, there are still flu shots available. If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some places in the Shorewood area that offer the vaccine:
Walgreens: 4081 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood
- Flu vaccinations are available at Walgreens daily. Walk in anytime or schedule an appointment by clicking here. Most insurance accepted.
North Shore Health Department: Call 371-2980 for details and to make an appointment.
CVS Pharmacy: 240 E. Hampton Ave., Whitefish Bay
CVS offers flu shots everyday. They also accept insurance and Medicare Part B. They have vaccines for both adults (including the new, smaller-needle intradermal vaccine for ages 18-64) and children 18 months old and younger. Walk-ins are welcome, but shoppers can also schedule appointments by clicking here.
Flu symptoms are a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, coughs and sneezes, and a sore throat. You can find more information about the flu virus from the Center for Disease Control on: