Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Increasing cases of flu this season

Monroe County reports first flu death of season Effectively battling bug
Melissa Porter | 11 January, 2018, 03:16

He said the H3N2 influenza strain is showing up, which can mean more severe illness in children and people who are older or with compromised immune systems.

Because people can be contagious for up to a week after the onset of symptoms, they are asked not to visit anyone in the hospital or accompany someone to appointments until they are symptom free.

ODH also recommends frequently washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs and staying home when you're sick.

In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says there were 11,277 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu across the country as of December 30 - about 70 per cent attributed to H3N2 - with more than 1,000 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths. Some protection is better than none, and the flu may be less severe in people who have been vaccinated.

Let your doctor know right away if you have symptoms suggestive of the flu during flu season.

But this year's B strain, known as B/Yamagata, began circulating in the fall, much earlier than is usually the case.

She's seen a recent spike in cases with 170 reports of influenza in the county through December 23, a 45-percent increase from a year ago.

Antiviral medications can shorten the course of the flu and reduce its severity.

Health officials and the local medical community are urging residents with minor flu or flu-like symptoms to refrain from going to hospital emergency departments to avoid over-stressing resources. Vaccination is offered at a variety of pharmacies as well as health care providers and clinics. The Denton County Public Health department offers low-priced immunizations to those who qualify.

Quail Run had reported no new cases as of January 4, Noble said. To date, there have been no reports of pediatric death associated with flu.

Harding said the main reason for the rough flu season stems from the Centers for Disease Control missing the mark on the vaccine to combat the current strain. The district has also been sending parents messages, by telephone, text, email, and on social media, suggesting ways to help minimize exposure to the flu.

When medical personnel give the flu vaccine to a patient, they inform them that they may feel soreness in their arm or general body aches and even a low-grade fever in response to it. However, a second wave of influenza will often cause illnesses after the first.

"The biggest thing is that if we are asking those people to stay home if you're having any signs of coughing, sneezing, fever, diarrhea, runny nose, and any of those under the age of 14 just to refrain from visiting our facility at this time", said Cory Unverferth, Manager of Infection Prevention for Mercy Health St. Rita's.