PONTIAC (WWJ) – Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) is urging Michigan residents to take preventative action and get vaccinated against seasonal flu in the wake of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  report that said there has been a rapid increase in flu cases in the state.

In addition, the Michigan Department of Community Health has upgraded flu activity in the state from “sporadic” to the next higher level of “local,” reflecting recent increases in confirmed influenza cases and a facility outbreak from the southwest region of the state. Both Influenza A/H3N2 and Influenza B are noted to be circulating and showing increases in several other areas of Michigan.

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“Most of the flu cases seen this year are well matched to this season’s vaccine, so a flu shot can offer good protection,” Kathy Forzley, an OCHD health officer, said in a statement.

Flu shots are available for $16 at OCHD offices from noon to 8 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Offices are located at:

  • 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

Residents may pre-register for an appointment by calling 248-858-7350 (Pontiac) or 248-424-7120 (Southfield). Walk-in appointments are welcome. Walk-in payment options include Medicare, Medicaid and cash (no credit cards, checks or money orders).

“Flu is a life-threatening disease, especially for the elderly and infants who are at greatest risk of contracting illness. If you are around these high-risk populations, it’s also important to protect yourself so you protect them.” Forzley said.

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Health professionals recommend individuals six months and older should get vaccinated against seasonal flu every year. It can take about two weeks after the vaccination for the body to develop protection.

Flu can be spread to others up to about six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose or mouth.

To avoid this, wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. The flu usually comes on suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

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  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health.