Flu season is here

RENO, Nev (KOLO) Just in the past couple of weeks we've taken you to several flu shot clinics where people of all ages were getting vaccinated for this year's season.

But what you may not realize is in those last couple of weeks, the number of influenza-like cases have jumped in Washoe County.

“Our flu season is here. Flu activity is picking up. And we are getting ready to head into a season that is symbolized by togetherness. Spending time with friends, spending time with family, co-workers, neighbors. And anytime you bring together a group of people in a smaller space, that provides an opportunity for disease transmission,” says Kerry Chalkley, influenza surveillance coordinator with Washoe County Health District.

Look at the health district's surveillance charts and you can see a dramatic increase in cases from October to November. In November alone, 107 cases reported for the week ending November 4. 122 cases for the week ending November 11th. A slight dip to 107 cases for the week ending November 18th.

Chalkely says there's no way to tell when the number of cases will peak in our area, but these numbers certainly aren't the final story.

While flu shots are relatively painless, the same can't be said about influenza and its impact on your pocketbook or at the workplace.

Doctor's office visits, medications, even hospitalizations due to influenza run four-point-six billion a year.

U.S. workers lost up to 111,000,000 workdays because of influenza, with an estimated cost of 7 billion dollars a year in sick days and lost productivity.

It's never too late to get the flu shot but it takes two weeks for you to build full immunity.

While it's too late to protect yourself during get-togethers at Thanksgiving, you can get immunized for the rest of the holiday season.

In a time of giving, it's never a good idea to pass on the flu.