GRAND RAPIDS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – as well as local officials – say while it’s not quite as severe as last year, flu cases are on the rise.

“It’s showing up,” said Chris Simon of the Ionia County Health Department. “Not as much recently because school’s been out for a couple weeks.”

Simon stressed the importance of getting a flu shot to best protect against the virus.

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “It will provide you some protection and, if you do get the flu, it’s not going to be as severe. You’re going to be less likely to develop complications, namely pneumonia.”

If you get it, you’ll know it.

“Cough and sore throat. Headache, body aches and fever, really high fever. And just getting knocked out,” said Brian Hartl, the epidemiology supervisor at the Kent County Health Department.

The numbers have yet to peak in Michigan. But health officials say it’s just a matter of time.

“Right now, we’re seeing an increase in the number of cases of the flu that we’re receiving from physicians, we’re seeing an increase in the number of people going to the emergency departments for flu-like illness,” Hartl said.

You can avoid the flu by doing things like staying clear of coughing coworkers, cleaning your keyboard and of course, washing your hands.

But experts say the best way to avoid the flu is get the flu shot.

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