MASON COUNTY — The dreaded influenza, or better known as the “flu,” is on the rise in Mason County, according to the Mason County Health Department.
Jennifer Thomas, health department nursing director and administrator, said the number of cases reported to that office have increased this week. The department receives weekly reports from the school system and local physicians, as well as nursing care and other facilities.
While both Influenza A and Influenza B have been reported regionally, Thomas said most of the local cases have been type “A.” The only way to determine which type a person has is to be tested by a health care provider.
Symptoms of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and tiredness. Not all people will present all symptoms, however.
Thomas said those who suspect they have the flu should go to their physician. If caught within the first 48 hours, medicines such as Tamiflu can help with the recovery process.
The CDC reports that most people will recover in a few days to two weeks, but some might experience complications. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections can all result from the flu.
While some people experience vomiting and diarrhea with the flu, the CDC states it is more common in children than adults. Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are also symptoms of the norovirus, which is also making its way throughout the county.
Thomas stated there are two very important things to remember when dealing with any illness: 1. Wash your hands frequently to prevent getting sick, or spreading your illness; and, 2. Stay home if you are sick.
The CDC reports those who have the flu can infect others from one day prior to getting sick, to five-to-seven days after. The flu can spread by droplets made when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks. A person can also get the flu by touching something that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Some local schools have sent home papers with students titled, “To School or Not to School.” The sheet outlines various reasons for keeping children home. Among them are fever in the past 24 hours; signs of respiratory illness such as cough, severe sore throat, thick nasal drainage, or earache; and vomiting, diarrhea, or severe abdominal pain within the past 12 hours.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.