Flu Season Striking Early In West Michigan

Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-24 20:32:38-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  Typically flu season peaks in February and March but this year it’s striking earlier and harder in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Community Health reports that the flu has already killed two people in the central and southern parts of the state.

FOX 17 News spoke with a woman who said her husband just recovered from the flu.

“He slept a lot. He just couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t eat. It was pretty bad,” said Coleen Omstead, a Sparta, Michigan resident. “He had congestion up through his nose and his eyes were watery. He had a really deep cough.”

“My sister had it the worst,” said Joanna Lenau, a Grand Rapids area resident.

Lenau said four out of her five siblings also have it.

“I`m used to starting with one and kind of cycling around the whole family,” said Lenau.

Kent County Health Department Spokesperson Lisa LaPlante said the season is hitting West Michigan earlier as well. She said in Kent County there are 23 confirmed cases that have been reported this year compared to only four during the same period last year.

“Standard peak time is after the holidays. We are starting to see the case load get higher and higher this year,” said LaPlante.

Metro Health officials said the good news is that the CDC is reporting that the strain that’s circulating now is included in this year’s flu vaccine.

Doctors said it’s not too late to roll up your sleeves to get the shot.

“Some of the things that we recommend include making sure that you get a flu shot. It is still the single best way to make sure that you are protected against the flu,” said LaPlante.

LaPlante says Kent County charges $25 for the flu shot and $32 for the nasal mist.

“Get your shot. Be careful. Don`t be around it. Just use your head,” said Omstead.

Doctors say once you get a flu shot, it will take about two weeks to build up full immunity.

For more tips on keeping the flu at bay, check out: