The Sedgwick County Health Department has received reports of flu and other respiratory viruses in the county for the first time this season.

The first cases of influenza are normally seen in December.  They’re reminding residents that now is the time to get immunized against the flu.

Young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to the flu which can lead to hospitalization, and sometimes death.  Symptoms of the flu appear suddenly and include a fever that lasts 3-4 days, body aches, chills, tiredness, cough, and headache.

The flu virus is spread from person-to-person by droplets from talking, coughing or sneezing.  Getting immunized against the flu virus is best top way to prevent the spread of the illness.

You should also consider these other steps to help prevent the spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Stay home if you become ill.

no cost flu shots to uninsured adults, uninsured children, children covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicaid (Aetna, Sunflower, or United Healthcare) are available at the Sedgwick County Health Department, located at 2716 W. Central.