Health officials warn of rise in influenza, urge vaccinations

Feb 02, 2018, 20:59
Health officials warn of rise in influenza, urge vaccinations

Due to the high level of influenza cases in the region and statewide, the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is implementing a revised visitor policy to protect the health and safety of patients, staff, visitors and the community during flu season.

The outbreak has caused a total of 84 deaths, so far, this season in the Midlands. The number of deaths for the week of January 21 to 28 were not included in the report.

The 2016-2017 season was one of the deadliest in Washington state in 10 years; 250 people died with the most in King County.

There have been no flu-related deaths at Coastal Carolina Hospital, Hill said.

Nationally there have been reports of shortages of Tamiflu, the drug used to treat the flu.

The flu can also be more risky for infants or toddlers, the elderly or those with lung issues. "The influenza virus can mutate and it's hard to gauge which flu strain will dominate in any given year", she said earlier this season. Most insurances will cover the vaccine without any out-of-pocket expense. This is the best way of reducing your chances of getting sick and spreading the virus to others, according to Rumpf.

About 25 of the 37 Georgia flu deaths were people 65 or older. Sydney had previous medical challenges that caused her to have seizures and it's that condition that her parents believe contributed to her death. Van Hulzen says just because residents might have already had influenza A they can still get Influenza B so she continues to recommend people get the flu shot to stay safe.

According to Smith, the yearly flu vaccines are made to predict what this year's strain of flu might be.

Cuomo issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to give flu shots to children between the ages 2 and 18.

The free flu shots will be available while supplies last again Friday from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m.at Shawnee Mission Centra Care locations in Lenexa, Overland Park, Olathe and Shawnee. So it's still worth getting a flu shot - even though it's February and even though it takes a few weeks for your body to fully respond to the jab.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, all of which are ideal pathways for germs to enter the body and spread.

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