More Spokane County flu cases reported

SPOKANE - The flu is sweeping the nation and showing no signs of stopping. So far this flu season, there has been 22,048 cases nationwide, compared to just 849 last year.

In Washington, six people have died because of the flu. In Spokane County, flu cases have jumped 600-percent compared to this time last year. Twenty-five people have been hospitalized here, compared to just four at this time in 2012.

Flu Season Picks Up

In just the last 72 hours, eight people in Spokane have been hospitalized with the flu. The flu is really packing a punch with the city's elderly population - the average age of a flu patient in Spokane County is 79-years-old.

Spokane health officials say we are still in the beginning stages of flu season, which is why they are urging people to get vaccinated.

"We typically peak a little later in the flu season so if we are seeing a lot of severe illness right now, it's good to get prepared and get immunized before we get into February and March," Mark Springer with the Spokane Regional Health District said.

Health officials want to remind people the shot isn't going to fully protect you from everything. After you get the shot, it takes two weeks to be fully protected. The shot is recommended for anyone six-months and older.

You can get the flu shot at your doctor's office, a local clinic, drug store and at the Spokane Regional Health District. The shot typically costs about $25 to $30.

If you want to avoid getting a shot, the flu mist, which is a nasal spray, is an option for those between the ages of two and 49. High dose vaccine is also available for anyone 65 and older.