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Flu hospitalizations on the rise across the state

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The flu season is already underway and more people across the state are getting hospitalized because of the virus.

With the holiday season around the corner, experts say more cases could pop up.

Flu season started early here in Wisconsin, and health experts like Dr. Randy Mathewson want people to take the right measures.

"The flu itself is a dangerous disease that can get much, much worse," says Dr. Mathewson with Froedtert and MCW Greendale Health Center.  "The holiday season is coming. Influenza is a virus. It's communicable, it's spreadable. You can spread it easily just through coughing, sneezing, through secretions."

So far this season, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health is seeing a rise in people going to the hospital with the flu.

These cases have grown over the last five years.

Out of the 63 people who've gotten hospitalized from the virus this season, more than 50 of them are baby boomers.

"Our population is aging. We're getting more older and older patients. There will be higher and higher numbers of people at risk for influenza," says Dr. Mathewson. "The bad type of influenza in the hospital that end up with pneumonia and sepsis and with thousands of cases of death in the U.S. alone."

That's why Dr. Mathewson says it's extremely important to get a flu shot.

With hundreds of families across the state getting ready for Thanksgiving this week, he says it's better the get the shot sooner, rather than later.

"Why take the chance of spending three weeks being miserable and tired and fatigued and having a cough, when you can prevent it?" he says.

We still have a few months before peak flu season comes.

Doctors say other ways to lower your chances of getting the flu are coughing into your sleeve and washing your hands throughout the day.



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