Valleywise Health emergency departments in central Phoenix and Maryvale are seeing an early spike in flu activity and flu-related hospitalizations. 

“We’re seeing a fairly rapid increase in the number of flu cases because it is so contagious and spreads from one person to the next so easily,’ said Dr. Kara Geren, an emergency medicine physician at Valleywise Health Medical Center. “That’s why it’s so important to be vigilant about protecting yourself and your loved ones.” 

There is a statewide increase, with cases three times higher than at the same time last year, according to numbers released by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Dr. Geren said vaccination is the best protection against the flu. “At this point, we have no reason to suspect that the flu vaccine is not a good match for the virus that’s going around.”

Other ways to prevent the flu from spreading include:

• Washing your hands often

• Avoiding touching your face

• Covering your cough

• Staying home if you are ill

Symptoms of influenza include:

• Fever or feeling feverish/chills

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle or body aches

• Headaches

• Fatigue (tiredness)

• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.