The Washoe County Health District says at least three people have died this flu season. The Health District says that for the 5th straight week, Northern Nevada has seen an increase in flu cases.

“We are reaching a second peak for the influenza season,” said Influenza Surveillance Coordinator Kerry Chalkey.

The Washoe County Health District is concerned about a second major increase in influenza-like activity this flu season.  

“It is unclear at this time if we continue to see an increase in activity or are at a second peak. That’s why we think it’s so important for people to know it’s still very much flu season. There is quite a bit of activity going on,” said Chalkey.

The Health District has an influenza surveillance program to keep track of flu and flu like symptoms in the area. The program relies on information provided by 12 healthcare providers.  

“They send to us the number of patients who are sick with the flu like illness. And the total of patients they see in that period,” said Chalkey. The percentage of patients with illness related symptoms is 4.2 percent which is well above the regional percentage which is only 2.3 percent.

“Children under the age of 4 have the highest level of influenza type activity,” said Chalkey. Hospitalizations for the flu are up, too. “One in five hospitalizations are ending up in the intensive care unit,” said Chalkey.

So what can you do to cut down your chances of ending up with the flu?

“Get a flu shot it’s your best protection against the flu. Cough into your sleeve if you have to cough or sneeze. Wash your hands. And finally if you are ill please stay home,” said Phillip Ulibarri from the Washoe County Health District. 

The Washoe County Health District will be offering free flu shots for the first 150 people who show up at the Family Health Festival. The event will be held on Thursday at Sparks Middle School. 

Correction: A previous article stated that more than 100 people died from this year's flu season. A spokesman for the Washoe County Health District says it was actually at least three people who have died.