TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – If you think it’s too late to get a flu shot this season, think again. You may, in fact, hear more cases of people infected by influenza between now and March than you did over the past several months.

Why? Because the flu season in south-central Idaho typically peaks in late January through early March, said Christi Dawson-Skuza, a registered nurse at South Central Public Health District. If you never did get a flu shot this season, she said, it’d still be valuable for you to do so.

“This is the time when we usually see an increase in the number of flu cases,” she said. “I can’t exactly tell you why, but from late January to March seems to be the area’s peak season.”

The area has not, however, been hit as heavy with influenza as it has in previous years, she said. That’s not the case in other places in the U.S. According to a health advisory issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity is increasing across the country and severe cases have been reported.

“Although influenza activity nationally is low compared to this time last season, it is increasing,” reads the advisory, “and some localized areas of the United States are already experiencing high activity. Further increases are expected in the coming weeks.”

February is not too late for people to get their flu shots, according to the health institute. Flu outbreaks, which typically begin about October, can last until May.

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Locally, SCPH still has plenty of vaccines available for people of all ages Dawson-Skuza said, including a supply for senior citizens. To receive a flu shot, call SCPH at 737-5900 to make an appointment or contact your local physician. It generally is recommended that anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against influenza.

If you do get the flu, remember the usual tips to help keep it from multiplying:

  • Stay home from work or school so you don’t pass it around
  • Cough into your sleeve or use a tissue to keep germs from spreading
  • Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap

“Hygiene is the best preventative against passing it around,” Dawson-Skuza said, “especially your hands. Wash your hands frequently.”