UW Health: 2022 flu cases surpass last pre-pandemic flu season

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:33 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - UW Health announced Tuesday it had 190 positive flu cases in the past week, and then it made a correction. Wednesday, UW Health said it had 422 flu cases in the past week, topping any week in the 2019-2020 flu season -- the last flu season before the COVID-19 pandemic. These don’t include flu cases in other hospital systems around the state.

For comparison, UW Health treated fewer than 10 flu cases in the entire month of November in 2019. That flu season peaked with 318 cases in one week in February 2020.

This month, UW Health says flu cases quadrupled in the first three weeks. Medical experts say this flu season started earlier they expect it will be more severe given the current trend.

Older adults, younger children, and people with weakened immune systems are the ones who are most vulnerable to the flu’s most serious symptoms. The solutions for slowing the spread of the flu virus are the same we’ve been hearing through the pandemic:

  • Get vaccinated -- and encourage others to get vaccinated. Vaccines aren’t just for keeping you alone healthy; if your body is stronger against the flu virus then you’re less likely to spread it to the people you meet, and they’re less likely to carry it on, and so on and so on. There’s protection in herd immunity.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. The flu virus is spread in droplets, especially when you cough or sneeze.
  • Maintain a social distance. Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Wash your hands often. Soap and water are best, but keep hand sanitizer handy for when they’re not available.
  • Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, TV remotes, desks, keyboards, countertops, video game controllers, etc.