Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida

Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida

Others at high risk of getting the flu are children under age 5, pregnant women and those with underlying conditions such as lung or heart disease. Santa Barbara County hospitals have seen an increase in the number of outpatient visits from patients with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and jump in lab-confirmed cases of influenza.

According to the CDC, 36 states including IL are already seeing widespread influenza activity - and public health experts are concerned this year's flu vaccine could be less effective than usual. "It's not as robust as a younger person", said Dr. Polly Baldwin, Medical Director for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. The DPH website reported the less severe influenza B jumped 69 cases to 177 to date.

It is thought the flu is to blame for more than 300 deaths in Australia and has left emergency units with "standing room only".

Around 46 Scots in every 100,000 suffered from the virus during the last week in December 2017, up from 22 in every 100,000 for the same week in 2016, according to latest Health Protection Scotland (HPS), reports Metro. "It's hard to predict how the rest of the season will play out". People should recover from normal flu within a week or so, although some symptoms like a cough can last longer.

It is too early to say if flu season will be worse than prior years, when peak season for the past two years occurred in mid to late-February, Southwest Florida health officials say.

Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida
Flu cases on the rise in Southwest Florida

Since September 1st, more than 600 people have been hospitalized in Oklahoma with the flu and 13 have died.

As flu is a virus, there is no cure; you can only alleviate the effects by getting plenty of sleep and fluids, and taking Ibuprofen to lower your temperature and relieve aches and pain.

"This update summarises recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the latest update in the Green Book on adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine that can support your decisions on optimal choice of influenza vaccine for the 2018/19 season". Wash your hands frequently, especially when you're out in public using a grocery cart or gas pump, for example.

People should not visit patients at any BHS facilities if they are under 18 years of age, ill or are experiencing flu or flu-like symptoms. Antiviral medications (such as Tamiflu and other medications) can be prescribed by your regular health care provider or urgent care physician, Dean said, and are most effective if used within the first two days of infection.

Contact Mikayla Mace at 573-4158 and Stephanie Innes at 573-4134.

State Sees More Severe Flu Cases, More Hospitalizations
People concerned about flu-like symptoms should stay at home and contact their GP, or call NHS 111, to seek further advice. For most healthy people, recovering from flu can take roughly a week. "This particular virus tends to mutate very quickly".

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