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Influenza epidemic flirting with Montana

By KECI Staff
Published On: Jan 10 2013 05:50:40 PM MST

To learn more about flu outbreaks, please visit www.flu.gov.

MISSOULA, Mont. -

Health officials in Montana are keeping a close eye on the national influenza epidemic, and expect to join 41 other states in having widespread influenza by tomorrow.

At the moment, there are only 108 confirmed cases of influenza in Montana with 56 hospitalizations.

Currently Montana is considered having a regional outbreak, meaning that less than half of the counties have laboratory evidence of influenza.

Medical professionals say its not too late to get a flu vaccine, but if you don't like needles, there are some other steps to take.

Pamela Goldberg, a nurse and Infection Control Coordinator with Community Medical Center in Missoula says personal hygiene measures can help.

"Clean your environment often with a bleach wipe. Don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose with your hands. Cover your cough and sneeze, and throw tissues away.  Stay away from people who are sick. And if you are sick yourself, stay home, get rest and don't expose other people," says Goldberg.

Community Medical Center also advises people to stay away from the emergency room if they are symptomatic. Not only is there very little to be done for a flu patient, but the contagious nature of influenza can put others at risk.

However, Goldberg did say that if you are feeling ill, and think you need medical attention to call your doctor for guidance.