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Dec 12, 2013 7:25 PM by John Patrick

Flu cases on the rise across southern Arizona

TUCSON - Confirmed cases of influenza continue to climb heading into the peak of the season.

Body aches, fatigue and fever are all signs you are falling ill with the flu. According to the current numbers from the Arizona Department of Health Services this could be another rough year for flu sufferers.

Maria Acedo is one of so many southern Arizonan's suffering from flu-like symptoms. She says she's been dealing with the flu for about a month now.

"Having trouble breathing, congestion, coughing a lot. I just felt horrible," explains Acedo.

Like Acedo many influenza cases go unreported, however, from the small sampling there has been 48 confirmed cases in Pima County with 247 cases statewide. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services this is a 170% increase compared to a typical flu season and nearly 10% higher than last year.

Dr. Sean Elliott, the Medical Director of Protection and Prevention with UAMC, says it looks like we'll see more cases of flu than expected this season.

Dr. Elliott says, "This year is cueing up to be a bad year with higher numbers."

Southern Arizona generally sees the peak of flu season in late January. The current trend from the AZDHS shows this year is looking awfully similar to last in terms of timing and number of cases.

"The trend is looking like it's a hot one this year but the CDC will help us understand what the season is looking like by mid January," explains Dr. Elliott.

With the peak of flu season still about a month Dr. Elliott says it's not too late to get vaccinated.

"Now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven't already. We even suggest it through December and January if you haven't been yet," says Dr. Elliott.

The second best line of defense from catching the flu is to frequently wash your hands. Dr. Elliott suggests that several times a day lather with soap for at least 15 seconds before rinsing.

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