SAINT GEORGE – As winter draws to a close, health professionals in Washington County give their report on the 2011-12 flu season.
The flu season in Southern Utah typically runs from late fall to mid-spring, though each year is different. Most cases appear in the winter, which is largely due to colder outdoor temperatures.
“We see an increase in illnesses during the winter because as the weather gets cold, people stay indoors,” said David Heaton, public information officer for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. “[Not only] do germs spread more easily in close quarters, but flu viruses are healthier in cool air.”
The milder winter of 2011-2012 has almost certainly contributed to a reduction in flu cases throughout the area.
Linda Rider, an infection preventionist with the Dixie Regional Medical Center, said that she has observed “a very light season. There have been few cases and no unusual viruses; just the common colds and infections.”
“We’ve had less [flu patients] this year, a lot less,” Korrie McCormick said; McCormick is a nurse at The Family Clinic in Hurricane.
Preventative shots are still available to the public, both insured and uninsured. SWUHD is offering them at $10, which Heaton said is the least expensive source in the county. Other locations can be found via Immunize Utah.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.