SPOKANE, Wash. – We all seemed to make it through the holiday season, but then the Seattle area started seeing a big increase in flu hospitalizations.

KREM 2 On Your Side checked in with the Regional Health Department and, you guessed it, the Inland Northwest is dealing with similar problems.

The Health Department said they are seeing infections across the board. In fact, here at KREM 2, we cannot even keep everyone healthy.

Seventy-five percent of KREM’s daily reporting staff called out sick on Wednesday and other employees are trying to power through while at work.

“I’ve noticed that I’ve had really bad headaches recently,” said KREM 2 producer Erin Robinson.

‘Tis the season for the flu! Here in Spokane County, officials are seeing all of the classic symptoms, just a little later than normal.

“A more rapid increase than we’d seen in the previous three weeks,” said epidemiologist Dorothy MacEachern.

Hospitalizations from the flu have spiked. In preparation for flu season, local hospitals now require all healthcare workers who come into contact with patients to wear a mask in hope of preventing the flu’s spread.

“Influenza is a disease that can be spread prior to you feeling sick yourself,” said MacEachern.

This is why the Health Department is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot. Not only can it help control the spread, but if you do get sick, you likely won’t get as sick, even if you do get the flu.

RELATED: Common flu shot myths debunked

Despite the late increase in flue cases, there have been no reported flu deaths so far in Spokane County. However, officials said you still have to be on guard. And no, you cannot get sick just from being outside.


“Obviously the weather isn’t helping,” said Robinson.

Officials said do not be afraid to use a sick day. You can stay nice and warm at home instead of potentially infecting all of your favorite coworkers.