Cover that cough, wash your hands. Flu cases are on the rise.
Leaders at the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, report doctors’ visits for flu-like symptoms are the highest in three years. Two Mid-South states, Mississippi and Arkansas, are reporting high flu activity in their most recent data.
At Methodist North in Raleigh, staff said an abnormally high number, about ⅓ of all ER patients, were flu-related in the last day or so.
This, as the flu is wreaking havoc across the Mid-South and nation and making people feel pretty miserable.
“We’ve seen an uptick in positive flu,” Methodist North’s Emergency Department Director Gina Lucchesi said.
She said the department was slammed with sick patients complaining of flu-like symptoms in recent days.
“Muscle aches, fever, sore throat, lots of people with dry cough, just a lot of people feeling puny,” Lucchesi said.
Staff at Methodist North’s ER is isolating flu patients with other cases to try and limit the exposure, as that hospital and others across the U.S. combat an aggressive flu bug in the last week.
“Never too late to get the flu vaccine,” Lucchesi said. “Last year I think the flu went into late March, early April.”
The good news, this year’s flu vaccine does protect against the predominant flu strain, but with flu cases increasing in the Memphis area, Lucchesi hammered home important health reminders this time of year.
“Wash your hands, good hands hygiene, if you already have the flu, definitely drink a lot of fluids, try to stay at home, get a lot of rest,” Lucchesi said.
The Tennessee Department of Health reports this year’s flu season already claimed the lives of three young children and one pregnant woman.
Health experts said the Tamiflu medication is most effective within 48 hours of the first onset of flu-like symptoms.