Flu now considered 'widespread' in Nebraska
At the Douglas County Health Department, it's epidemiologist Anne O'Keefe's job to study the numbers on influenza.
Her data shows an increase in cases over the last 14 days.
The CDC and the state say the flu is now considered "widespread."
"That just means a geographic spread," said O'Keefe. "Widespread means they are having outbreaks all across the state."
Nebraska now joins other states also with a similar designation.
Kubat pharmacist Jim Quinley says from behind the counter this season is particularly rough.
"We're six weeks ahead of the game from last year," said Quinley.
He's noticed an up-tick in prescriptions for the antiviral medication tamiflu.
"Usually we don't see those prescriptions written until late January, early February," said Quinley.
He believes it's possible the flu shot that was given out two or three months ago may not be working for some people.
Still, health officials say it is important.
"The flu shot is the best defense we have," said O'Keefe.
It's not too late to get one.
"The virus has to get into your system," said Quinley. "It's going to get into your mouth or nose."
It's why doctor's say you should:
- Wash your hands
- Don't touch your mouth or face
- Cover your cough and sneeze
- Stay home if you're sick.