Flu cases remain high in Greene County, potential peak in February

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. There are now more than 2,200 flu cases in Greene County, with nearly 670 new cases last week

Just three weeks ago, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department counted 301 cases of flu.Then the number skyrocketed to 669.

Last week, there were 668 new cases. An official at the Springfield-Greene County Health Department called it the "tip of the iceberg."

Kendra Findley, Administrator of Community Health and Epidemiology, said the number of flu cases only includes the people who went to the hospital and got diagnosed from a doctor.

"There are probably many, many more people out there who just didn't go to the doctor, who stayed home with their illness," Findley said.

Findley said last year, flu cases peaked on February 15 at 744 cases, but there's no way to know if we're getting close to this year's high mark. She said she will continue to monitor the reported cases for a potential peak.

She said the flu is simply unpredictable, but the best way to protect yourself is by washing your hands with soap and water often.

"You need to physically remove germs from your hands. We touch our faces probably a thousand times a day, so you're absolutely putting germs onto your face that are getting into your body, making yourself sick," Findley said.

She said hand sanitizers will do the job if you can't get to a sink .

When cleaning your home, she said disinfecting surfaces is vital.

"If you've got somebody in your home who's sick, use some kind of disinfectant product to clean those surfaces, so if you do have germs there, you're killing them."

Findley said, there is no way to know if the flu vaccine closely matches the flu strain seen in patients until the season is over.

"As much disease as we're seeing, I'm going to guess it's not a great match, but here's what I will say to people. Even if the vaccine is not a perfect match, it's still the best defense we have against the disease."

She said it is still not too late to get a flu shot. Even though Findley is expecting a peak in February, she said flu cases will continue through March.

For more information about symptoms and what to do if you have the flu, click HERE.