January 9, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
According to the Centers for Disease Control, and probably to the guy hacking next to you in the Subway, this year’s flu has impacted people sooner and more severely than in previous years.
More than 2,250 people have already been hospitalized this season and 18 pediatric deaths have been reported nationwide. That flu bug is alive and well in the Scioto County area, too, but not to the extent that it is in areas with a more dense population.
“There have been a lot of people sick with the flu,” Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams said. “That has actually been going on since the first of December.”
Adams said officials at Southern Ohio Medical Center and other facilities testing for influenza are seeing an increase in positive results, particularly among those sick enough to seek medical attention. Adams was quick to add that most of the people who get the flu recover.
“I have not heard any stories of any significant casualties from that. Nobody has died that I’m aware of. Most of these people recover and never get treated, and once in a while they stay sick, go to the doctor and get diagnosed and get treated with Tamiflu or Rulenza,” Adams said. “If the situation is several days into the course, they will generally give the patient an antibiotic for a secondary bacterial infection.”
Is it still important for people with certain risk factors to get a flu shot? Adams said people should still consider getting a flu shot if they are sick, coughing or have a runny nose.
“Absolutely, get a flu shot,” Adams said. “You can acquire a full immunity in about two weeks with a flu shot. Does that guarantee that you won’t get the flu? No, but it may benefit you that you won’t be as sick, and you may be fortunate enough to have full immunity. It may bypass you and you not get sick at all. By doing that you may prevent other people from passing the flu on through you.”
Adams said another tool in the arsenal to fight the flu is the use of alcohol gels (hand sanitizer).
“That is certainly a first line they can use because the virus can certainly live on door knobs and everywhere else,” Adams said. “People need to keep their fingers out of their eyes, nose and mouth.”
Adams said the flu vaccine that health professionals have right now covers the strain, Influenza A, that is currently going around.
“It’s an old pandemic strain, the H3N2, and probably we’re going to see the H1N1 that we saw a couple of years ago circulating around as well,” Adams said. “There’s also some Influenza B which generally is not as serious as the Influenza A.”
Adams said so far the area is having a mild pathogenic flu season in this region.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.