H1N1 on the rise - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

H1N1 on the rise

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Posted By: Camila Orti

The peak of flu season is nearing, and the Department of Health and Human Services is urging people to get their flu shots.

19-year-old Marian McCoy agrees, saying it's not worth risking what she went through.

"I basically didn't leave my house for a week, I was very tired, very out of it," McCoy said.

State health officials say two flu-related deaths have been reported so far this season. A weekly report from the division of public health shows that flu cases are on the rise across the state, and H1N1, otherwise known as swine flu, is the most prevalent strain.

McCoy caught H1N1, also known as swine flu, from summer camp when she was 15.

"Not the most fun way to end my summer," McCoy said, laughing.

That was back in 2009 when H1N1 caused a worldwide pandemic.

"It hadn't really gotten to Nebraska yet so when we were hearing of it we were hearing of the serious cases of people being hospitalized or dying from it," McCoy said.

Today it's simply another seasonal flu virus, but one that could be deadly.

"Each week more areas are seeing more widespread activity in terms of flu, within Nebraska we're seeing that as well and Lincoln is no different," Tim Timmons with the Lancaster County Health Dept. said.

Now, McCoy says she takes no risks.

"I can tell you I've gotten a flu shot every year since then," McCoy said.

It's not too late to get yours. Health officials say the flu season doesn't usually start dying down until March.

Most pharmacies and health care clinics provide the vaccine.

Other tips to prevent illness include washing your hands thoroughly, avoid sharing cups or utensils, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, disinfecting surfaces and staying home when you're sick.

In addition to H1N1, the health department says cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, doubled in 2013. That's another illness easily prevented with a vaccine.

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