Nick McWilliams reporting – As flu season gains ground in Tuscarawas County and across the nation, health officials are pleading with residents to start taking action.

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, along with National Handwashing Awareness Week.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department says can be the time to receive a flu shot, and to closely pay attention to hand washing and other hygiene methods.

Anyone six months and older has the option to receive an influenza vaccination to prevent serious illness.

Flu hospitalizations are at an unusually high mark, with seven current hospitalizations of Tuscarawas County residents due to the flu, the highest number reported during this week in the last six years.

High-risk individuals, including those 65 and older, those with chronic conditions, children younger than five, and pregnant women, are especially urged to receive a shot.

As for hand washing, only warm, soapy water should be used, with at least 20 seconds of scrubbing thoroughly, rinsing afterward, and using a clean, dry towel.

Hand washing is proven to be one of the best preventative measures when it comes to illness.

Flu season peaks between February and March, which makes vaccination now giving strong prevention of infection.

For more on the vaccine and to schedule an appointment, call the health department at (330) 343-5555, ext. 1740 or 1810.

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