CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — As flu activity rises through the state, cases in Harrison County have doubled within the past week.

Cavin Richardson, interim nursing director for the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department, said the holidays greatly attributed to the number of cases the area is seeing.

“You know, around the holidays when people tend to gather more in enclosed spaces, at homes and at parties, and it gets cold and you’re in more, you will see an increase in it,” Richardson said. “We’ve really seen a two-fold increase in the last week or so.”

Single digit temperatures have only added chances to catching the influenza virus.

“People tend to stay inside more,” Richardson said.

With such a sharp increase, this winter’s flu season has the potential to be more severe than that of 2016-17.

“We’re getting an earlier start on it,” Richardson said. “We’re seeing more of type A, H3N2, right now.”

Richardson recommends the standard precautions for anyone hoping to avoid this year’s flu.

“Stay home if you’re sick, cover your cough and wash your hands frequently,” she said. “Try to avoid large crowds where the flu may be circulating and you may be able to pick it up easier. Definitely wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.”

And it’s not too late for the vaccine, Richardson said.

“It takes about two weeks to be effective, but you will see flu into the spring, so it is not too late and we highly recommend that,” she said.

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