Young woman sick with the flu sitting on the couch at home looking at a thermometer

Return of the Flu: Activity Increasing in Michigan  

Though the seasonal flu was relatively nonexistent last winter, early reports from federal and state health officials indicate the flu has returned and activity is beginning to increase in Michigan.  

As of the end of November, there’s been an uptick in flu cases in Michigan. Most cases have been among young adults and children, according to the state health department. Health officials are investigating an outbreak of the flu at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, where more than 500 cases of the flu were diagnosed from October to November.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider influenza-like illnesses (those with symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat) to be spreading in Michigan. Cases of influenza-like illnesses reported so far this fall appear to be tracking at the same rate as a regular flu season.  

Due to multiple precautionary measures taken during the fall and winter of 2020 including virtual learning, remote work, mask wearing and social distancing, cases of the flu dropped to historically low levels.  

This year, it appears the flu has returned to more regular activity – and particularly poses a higher risk of complications from the flu for adults age 65 and older, as well as adults with chronic health conditions including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.  

Not everyone presents the same, but these are some common symptoms:  

  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Cough  
  • Sore throat  
  • Runny nose  
  • Muscle or body aches  
  • Headaches  
  • Fatigue  
  • Vomiting and diarrhea  

Symptoms of the flu can come on suddenly – which makes it unlike a common cold where symptoms develop gradually. Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days. Some people may develop complications, like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.  

The best way to prevent against the flu is to receive the annual flu shot – and it’s not too late to get one. The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine can be received at the same time you get a COVID vaccine.  

It’s also especially important to protect yourself and others against the flu as hospitals are dedicating their attention to helping those with severe illness from COVID-19.   

For Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members without Blue Cross pharmacy coverage: Visit bcbsm.com/preventflu to see a list of immunizing pharmacies that provide vaccines under your medical coverage. 

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Photo credit: Getty Images

 

 

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