With flu activity reports stepping up across the state, residents are encouraged by the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) to take common-sense steps to avoid spreading influenza or becoming ill with the disease.

“The influenza activity reported to us has clearly picked up in Wyoming recently,” said Reggie McClinton, surveillance epidemiologist with WDH. “Natrona County appears to be showing the highest level of influenza activity right now. Unfortunately, one of the reported cases from this county involved the death of an adult woman

Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with WDH, said influenza should not be taken for granted. “This can be a very serious disease for some people. Every flu season we see hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza and its complications.”

According to a news release, flu vaccines are also available in many locations; WDH recommends nearly everyone over the age of six months receive an annual flu vaccination. Murphy acknowledged flu vaccines are not able to offer guaranteed protection from every possible strain of influenza. “However, they remain the most effective and most important tool available to help prevent this often serious illness,” he said.

Doctors may recommend prescription antiviral medications to help treat influenza. “For antiviral medications to be a good option, it is important to seek medical care quickly,” Murphy advised.