Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2017

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

Flu Activity Increasing Rapidly
Numerous Outbreaks Reported to DHHS

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Lincoln – Flu activity is increasing rapidly across the state according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Outbreaks are being reported in schools and long-term care facilities and numerous work places are experiencing staffing shortages due to illness. 

“The first two weeks of January showed a strong spike in flu activity and increases in doctors’ office visits and flu-related hospitalizations,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu should be used as early as possible in people who have flu-like illness. For those who aren’t sick, common sense preventive measures along with flu vaccine can help prevent flu and other winter illnesses during the height of the season.”

Protect yourself from the flu by:
  • Washing your hands often
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick 
  • Staying home from work, family gatherings and social functions if you’re sick 
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands 
  • Eating healthy and get plenty of rest 
  • Don’t smoke

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination plays a critical role in the fight against the flu. It can reduce flu-related illnesses, visits to the doctor, missed work and school and flu-related hospitalizations.

While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s extremely important they receive vaccine and it’s not too late to be vaccinated.     

  • Young children
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions 
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities


Flu vaccine is safe, effective and rigorously tested. Only injectable flu vaccine is recommended this season. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used due to concerns about its effectiveness according to the CDC. The most common reaction people may experience from a flu shot is soreness and redness at the injection site. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity.

For more flu information, visit the DHHS website at or the CDC website at

Follow us on Twitter - @NEDHHS or like us on Facebook – If you’ve got your flu shot, let us know. Post or tweet a photo with the #GotMyFluVax hashtag.