FARMINGTON -- A increase in the number of hospitalizations in Davis County due to influenza, and the number of flu cases being reported in Europe, is giving Davis County Health officials cause for concern heading into the peak of the flu season.
"It looks like we are at the onset of the flu season," Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said of the uptick in the number of confirmed cases, something that generally indicates a trend, and not a blip.
As a result, Garrett said, he suspects in the next few weeks the influenza season will be peaking.
Weber Morgan Health officials also anticipate the influenza season to hit its peak in the next few months.
"I believe we are just starting to see cases," Weber Morgan Health Department communicable disease nurse Tina L'Estrange said of influenza cases that have a tendency to increase after people have gathered for the holidays.
Eight years ago, health officials statewide stopped keeping count of the number of flu cases reported in the county, and instead began counting only the confirmed number of flu cases resulting in hospitalization, Garrett said.
What concerns Garrett is the health department is seeing an increase in the number of hospitalization cases in Davis County as a result of influenza.
There have been five this season, three of those involving children.
"We're likely to see substantial increases in the number of flu cases over the next few weeks," he said.
Also, looming on the horizon is the Jan. 3 start-up of school following the Christmas holiday break.
"Sometimes that amplifies the spread of influenza," Garrett said.
That is why Davis Health officials are encouraging the public to receive their flu vaccinations.
"It is definitely not too late to get the vaccine," Garrett said.
Weber-Morgan Health officials are making the same plea.
"We have plenty (of flu vaccine), send them on down," L'Estrange said.
Weber County has had 7 hospitalizations due to influenza this month, three of the seven cases have involved children, L'Estrange said.
"The flu is unpredictable, so we never know," she said.
This year's influenza numbers compared to last year's numbers will be smaller, due to last year's H1N1 virus being so big. During October of 2009, 107 Weber County residents were hospitalized.
"So, seven (hospitalizations this month) is way low compared to what we saw last year," L'Estrange said, "but it's been pretty typical for what we see each year."
Typically, the influenza season peaks in January and February, L'Estrange said, but can extend through March.
Davis County Health offers flu vaccinations are from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at its Woods Cross Health Clinic, 596 W. 750 South.
Flu vaccinations are also available from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., every Monday and Wednesday at the Clearfield Health Clinic at 22 S. State.
The cost per vaccination is $25, $30 for the mist-spray and $39 for a high dose flu shot available only to those 65 years or older.
Weber-Morgan Health Department offers walk-in flu vaccinations from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. and 8;30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The cost is $15. The clinic is located at 477 23rd Street.
The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus, a H3N2 virus and a influenza B virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website.