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Yellowstone County saw increase in flu cases in December

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BILLINGS — Flu cases in Yellowstone County are on the rise. The area has seen 626 confirmed cases as of Dec. 27, according to RiverStone Health. The virus is seemingly hitting harder than ever.

"One minute you’re okay, then two days later you’re not,” said Lora Bradley, a Laurel mother recovering from the flu on Wednesday.

It's long-lasting and hard-hitting.

Bradley said her son has been sick for 18 days.

"And that's 18 days with a fever," she said.

Bradley Family
Bradley Family

The Bradley family knows a thing or two about dealing with illness. The family founded Mary's Magical Moment, a nonprofit that works to support families impacted by DIPG, a rare form of childhood cancer.

A rapid surge in flu cases is sweeping across Montana. In Yellowstone County both children and adults are struggling with the sickness.

Montana DPHHS season summary
Montana DPHHS season summary

"There was a day where 31 kids in my entire school were sick," said Aiden Bradley, Lora's son who also is recovering from the flu. "And it’s a small school. There’s only like 200 kids."

It’s not your average flu - symptoms can stick around for weeks.

"Some days feel way better than others, and it could go for like a week you feel good," Aiden said. "And then you just don’t feel good again."

A Park City family also experienced the strain.

The Wystub Family
The Wystub Family

"All of our kids have had Covid and this hit them way harder,” said Jaime Wystub, a mother of three.

The two families were hit with the virus and are still recovering, but they're not alone.

"I had a really painful deep cough. It hurt," said Matt Wystub, Jaime's husband. "And just fever, chills, I was sweating and then I was hot."

According to Riverstone Health, as of Dec. 27, 626 cases of influenza have been confirmed in Yellowstone County. Forty of those have been hospitalized, and one person has died.

Many of the cases were confirmed in the last two weeks.

"I know it’s making a whole bunch of people pretty sick,” said Ben Beasley, an emergency physician at St. Vincent Healthcare.

Beasley said the best way to avoid getting sick is to take care of yourself and get vaccinated.

Ben Beasley
Ben Beasley

"Number one, get vaccinated. I think the majority of cases are in unvaccinated people," Beasley said. "You can always wear a mask if you’re out in public. Especially if you come to the hospital, put a mask on. Keep yourself healthy."

If you do get ill, the Bradleys and Wystubs have some advice.

"Drink lots of water, take your vitamins, and pray," Lora Bradley said.

"I drank a lot of tea. A ton of tea. That deep cough was pretty painful," said Jaime Wystub. "It kind of helped break things up. And chicken noodle soup.”

To learn more about the flu in Yellowstone County, click here.