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Flu season off to slow start

The state of Indiana reported its first flu-related death at the start of November. Medical professionals said that was earlier than normal. But since then, there hasn't been much chatter about the disease.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2018 5:46 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The state of Indiana reported its first flu-related death at the start of November. Medical professionals said that was earlier than normal. But since then, there hasn't been much chatter about the disease. 

During cold and flu season, you have to be careful everywhere you go. This includes the store, the gas station, and for some, the classroom.

News 10 spoke with college student, Indiana State Junior Nathan Wojciechowski. He says he’s done all he can to stay well this semester.

He shares, "I just don't want to get sick. That's it! I've been sick with the flu before, and it was the worst week of my life."

Flu season runs from October through May. So, we find ourselves in the middle of it now. To prepare, Wojciechowski says he took the advice of his folks.

He says, "My parents have always told, me just get your flu shot no matter what, even if you don't think it'll do anything."

Wojciechowski has managed to stay healthy so far this year. He partly credits that to getting the flu shot. Wojciechowski is also in a fraternity. He says his housemates got their flu shots too, and, they've even taken precautions to the next level.

He shares, "We do deep cleans every week to make sure we scrub basically everything in the house. Railings, light switches, door knobs, to make sure no one can get sick."

But Wojciechowski says this year, on campus, something is definitely different.

Wojciechowski explains, "Normally there's like a time where you notice everyone is coughing or sniffling, but this year I haven't really noticed it."

As it turns out, this student is on to something! Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a local doctor has shown the flu season to be mild so far.

The CDC reported last year's flu season was one of the deadliest on record. When Indiana saw its first flu death early this season, many were worried that meant we were in for another rough one. But, so far so good.

There are maps from the CDC showing flu activity from last flu season to this flu season. There are fewer areas of high activity.

News 10 reached out to Union Health to see how things were closer to the Wabash Valley.

We spoke with Emergency Department Medical Director, Dr. Anita Toussi. She says there have been zero confirmed cases of the flu in the ER so far. But, Dr. Toussi says that doesn't mean to let your guard down, or slack on prevention.

She explains, "It's not too late, and I would recommend that everyone gets the flu shot, six months and up. And there's different forms of flu shots as you know. They have the nasal one this year that's recommended. You need to ask your doctor which type of shot you should have."

Dr. Toussi says viruses are unpredictable. That's why it's so hard to gauge whether the worst of flu season just hasn't hit yet, or if this year's vaccines are doing a great job.

Toussi explains, "So then, it was much more active. We had a lot of cases. It was a bad flu season last year. This year, we believe it has not started yet."

What Dr. Toussi can say, is to keep washing your hands, and stay home when you're sick.

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