KINGMAN - The dreaded seasonal flu is creeping its way through the state but hasn't officially hit Mohave County, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The department is reporting sporadic influenza activity throughout the state with no laboratory confirmed cases reported in Mohave County. The U.S. Center for Disease Control defines sporadic as a small number of laboratory-confirmed cases that have been reported in the state.
The CDC is also reporting low flu activity throughout the nation with only two states reporting local activity. According to the CDC's website, local activity means there is a large increase in the number of cases in one region of a state. The two states reporting local activity are Alabama and Virginia.
According to the CDC's website, there are three strains of the flu virus that cause illness in humans, A, B and C. The C strain usually causes a mild respiratory illness.
The A and B strains cause the people the most trouble and create the seasonal symptoms of cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and sometimes fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
The symptoms usually only last a few days but for some people the virus can be deadly. People who have weakened immune systems, young children, people 65 and older and people with heart, lung and kidney problems can become very sick. The virus can also lead to a high fever, pneumonia, diarrhea, hospitalization and death.
The flu virus is usually spread when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. Touching a contaminated surface or object such as a table or eating utensils can also spread it.
The best way to prevent passing the flu and other diseases to others if you are sick is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and throw the tissue away, wash your hands with soap and water frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and avoid close contact with others who are not sick.
According to the CDC, the yearly flu vaccine always includes the B flu strain and two subtypes of the A strain. The selection of strains is based on what types of the virus scientists believe will be the most common that year.
The vaccine can be administered two ways, through a shot of killed virus or through a nasal spray that contains a weakened form of the virus.
You can find a location offering the flu vaccine by logging on to www.flu.gov and using the flu vaccine finder.
In response to the flu and RSV, Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City and Valley View Medical Center in Fort Mohave are advising people with the symptoms of a fever, cough or flu not to visit family members who may be staying in those hospitals. The two medical facilities have also placed age restrictions on visitors. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit family members at Valley View and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to visit at WARMC.
Officials at Kingman Regional Medical Center said they have not put age restrictions in place, but may do so if the number of flu and RSV cases increase.