POINT PLEASANT — Flu season is back again and cases have went from local to regional within the state.
Jennifer Thomas, nursing director and administrator at the Mason County Health Department, said flu season can begin as early as September and last as long as April. Thomas shared this flu season has stayed level so far and she has yet to see an increase in flu cases. She commented at the health department she has seen Flu A and Flu B cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are nationally predominate this flu season.
“The first report of seasonal influenza cases treated at Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH) started in early October with an upward trend in December right before Christmas. While the medical professionals are treating some influenza B, the strain of the virus physicians are seeing most is influenza A. The single best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated. You can stay healthy this season for those children and elderly individuals in your life who are more at-risk for becoming critically ill if you pass the virus on to them. The flu shot is important for everyone’s health,” said Michelle Roush, infection control nurse at PVH.
Thomas suggested other ways to help prevent contracting the flu is individuals should wash their hands, cover their cough, and if they are ill, they should stay home. The CDC recommends an individual to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks. Also, the CDC recommends that individuals avoid close contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
The CDC warns individuals that flu symptoms come on suddenly. A few common symptoms are as follows: fever or feeling feverish and having chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. The CDC states some individuals may have vomiting and diarrhea, though these symptoms are more common in children than adults.
“When someone has the flu, it’s also important to watch for potential severe complications,” said James Toothman, DO, chief of emergency and trauma medicine at PVH. “These include trouble breathing, vomiting, difficulty eating, and symptoms that appear to be going away and then return with other complications. Anyone with these symptoms should go to the emergency room right away.”
Thomas shared the flu shot is comprised of what flu strands were circulating the year prior. Children as young as 6 months old can get a flu shot. Flu shots can be given out at the Mason County Health Department, at many local pharmacies and at doctors’ offices. Individuals should call the health department first to see if they are eligible to receive the vaccine from the health department.
The health department has adult strength and child strength flu shots in stock, but individuals should first call the health department to see if they are eligible.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.