Health officials see 500% increase in flu cases in Arizona

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The ADHS comes out with flu summary reports every week, and the total number of confirmed cases is over 670. (Source: halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo) The ADHS comes out with flu summary reports every week, and the total number of confirmed cases is over 670. (Source: halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Flu season is underway and it’s spreading quickly this year.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said it has already seen a 500 percent increase in flu cases from previous years.

"Arizona is seeing an increase in flu cases this year and we're seeing them earlier than we typically do,” said Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The ADHS comes out with flu summary reports every week, and the total number of confirmed cases is over 670.

[READ MORE: Arizona flu season off to an early start]

While the flu does seem to be off to a quick start, it doesn’t mean this year will definitely be a horrible flu season.

"This early it could be a bad flu season and it could be a mild flu season,” says Dr. Milton Scharff. “We just don't know yet.”

[RELATED: Flu season is here and experts are already concerned]

Dr. Scharff is a pediatrician here in the Valley and says over the past decade he's seen parents take the vaccine more seriously, but says some parents still don't vaccinate.

[RELATED: Flu spreading weeks ahead of schedule in Maricopa County]

"It's one of those things as pediatricians and personally what I care about is trying to protect any child from something that is totally preventable,” says Scharff.

The health department says getting the vaccine is the most foolproof way to protect your family, as well as staying home when you’re sick and washing your hands all the time.

[RELATED: Pediatric center using video conferencing for first time this cold and flu season]

"It's really important especially for those kiddos, that they're washing their hands routinely,” says Rigler. “That's going to keep them from getting those flu germs in their mouths.”

The latest flu report from the ADHS is due out Tuesday.

[RELATED: New hospital restrictions during flu season]

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