TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Flu season is underway in Arizona, with at least 59 reported cases since Oct. 1.
The beginning of the month marked the start of flu season. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports at least 59 cases since Oct. 1, which is more than double the average for this time in the season.
Pima County health officials reported three cases so far and Cochise County reported five. All cases are reported through lab testing and only reflect a fraction of the actual number of people who are sick.
The flu can affect anyone but has the biggest impact on the very young, very old and those with compromised immune systems. Around 4,000 people are hospitalized due to complications from the flu and around 700 people die from the virus every year, according to the state health department.
The flu is spread from person to person through small droplets that are transmitted when people cough, sneeze or talk, according to ADHS. Many adult infect others within one day of infection or five to six days after they are already sick — that means its possible to get infected before symptoms kick in.
Healthcare providers recommend everyone over 6 months old receive their flu vaccine by the end of the month.
Though getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against the virus, providers recommend people implement frequent hand washing as a part of their daily routine as an extra preventative measure.