KALISPELL — The first confirmed case of the flu is being reported in northwest Montana.
The Flathead City-County Health Department (FCCHD) reports that as of Thursday morning one report of influenza A has been confirmed.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) reports this is Montana's first influenza case of the 2021-2022 flu season and it involves a child. This is the first confirmed flu case in Montana since April of 2020, according to DPHHS..
“Influenza is a serious illness because it can spread quickly and can cause severe outcomes in the high-risk population,” said FCCHD Health Officer Joe Russell. “We encourage everyone to get their flu vaccination to protect yourself and others. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get vaccinated.”
FCCHD is advising that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season and notes it takes up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza, including:
- People 65 years and older
- Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years old
- People with certain chronic health conditions like asthma and COPD, diabetes (both type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurological conditions, and certain other health conditions
- Pregnant women
Symptoms of the flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, and extreme tiredness. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children.
Complications can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and a worsening of other chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure.
Flu vaccinations are available by appointment at the Flathead City-County Health Department Immunizations Clinic by calling (406) 751-8110. Additional information can be found here.