The number of confrimed cases of the flu have taken a jump in recent weeks, according to a local physician. Additionally, Logan County has been listed as 10th in the state in the number of reported flu cases, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
According to Dr. Jason Richey of Mercy Clinic in Paris, there have been 34 cases of the flu reported at Mercy Hospital in Paris and the clinic. Of those, nine are for type A flu and 25 are for type B flu.
“We started seeing an increase in the flu and in upper respiratory stuff in the last week or two,” Dr. Richey said. “About half the people who have tested positive have had the vaccine.”
Richey also said type A flu is the more milder of the two types being reported here.
“Hopefully, we won’t have a bad flu season,” Dr. Richey said.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, since Oct. 1, over 2,500 positive influenza tests have been reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. Through the last week of November, 54 of the state’s 75 counties reported influenza cases. The majority of reports came from Benton, Pulaski, Lonoke, Faulkner, Garland, Saline, Jefferson, White, Washington, Logan and Craighead counties.
According to ADH, influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year, according to ADH.
Children, the elderly, health care workers and others prone to getting the flu should get their flu vaccine every year. For extra safety, people you live with or spend a lot of time with should also get a flu vaccine. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don’t have it. Flu vaccine helps your body fight the flu during the height of the flu season, which is generally December through March, according to ADH.
Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25 million to 50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu. The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth. Flu vaccine will not give you the flu, according to ADH. The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year. The vaccine takes one to two weeks to start working and is 70 percent to 90 percent effective in preventing the seasonal flu.
Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others. For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, flu vaccine can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent, according to ADH.