Arizona faces widespread flu outbreak

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Arizona faces widespread flu outbreak

CREATED Jan 10, 2013

Reporter: Cory Marshall

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Coughing, sneezing and sniffling -- they're the all-too-familiar signs of the flu. In Pima County, the flu season started early.

"This season we've actually had a peak a month earlier than usual and that's been a surprise. So, we've been hit pretty hard," Tucson Pediatrician Dr. Duane Dyson said.

According to Dyson, most of the time he sees patients experiencing common flu symptoms.

If you think your child may have something more serious than the common flu strand, he says there are some obvious signs.

Dyson urges parents to watch for fevers, especially if it rises to the 104-105 range. Vomiting is also a predictor.

"Most of the time it's been interesting that the whole family is suffering. But usually, the parents shake it off a little faster than the kids and then the kids are the ones that are still suffering," Dyson said.

The Pima County Health Department reports at least 60 confirmed cases of the Influenza Virus thus far. This week, Arizona Department of Health Services announced flu activity, statewide, is officially widespread.

"Widespread" is the highest category possible. According to ADHS, Influenza cases have been reported in 14 of the 15 counties.

Aside from handwashing, medical professionals across the board recommend the use of hand sanitizer.

Dyson suggests parents send their children to school with a small bottle of hand sanitizer, if the school allows the gel. Another option; parents can also volunteer to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer to their child's class.

But it's not all bad news.

"The numbers indicate that the influenza virus is out in our community. The good thing is that the viruses that have been isolated so far are a very good match to this year's flu vaccine," Pima County Health Department Epidemiology Program Director Michael Acoba told 9OYS.

Meaning, your best bet at avoiding the flu bug is getting a flu shot.