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Flu cases steadily rising in area

Flu cases steadily rising in area

January 4th, 2014 in News

Jaime Young with the Cole County Health Department said this year's influenza season is looking like a typical season when compared with previous years.

"We are seeing more (Influenza) A than (Influenza) B, which is also typical," said Young, the department's communicable disease and epidemiology nurse coordinator. "They both have the same symptoms, but generally, A is more worse off than B."

Dr. George Carr, a family medicine physician at Jefferson City Medical Group (JCMG), said he's also been seeing more patients with Influenza A than Influenza B at his practice.

"We've recently had a big pickup in the positive ones that test," Carr said. "It's just kind of starting to hit."

He said this year's flu season hasn't yet hit its peak.

"The holidays are when it usually gets going because everyone's been together and visited and gotten infected among the various individuals," Carr said. "They take it back and spread it through school, so we start to see a lot more following the holiday season."

He said there's usually a period of about four weeks when the flu is at its worst.

"Most of the people who have the most difficulty with it are older or are very young," Carr said.

He said the best thing someone can do if they suspect they have the flu is to call their doctor. Key symptoms include a high fever and body aches.

"A lot of doctor's offices will treat them based on the symptoms," Carr said. "If not, they'll have them come in and have a rapid flu test, which takes about 10 minutes. If it's positive, they're treated with Tamiflu, normally."

Both Young and Carr said a great way to prevent the virus is to get vaccinated, and it's not too late. JCMG, the health department, as well as other clinics are still offering the influenza vaccination.

Young and Carr also advise individuals to practice good handwashing and to use cough etiquette.

"The best way to reduce the risk is to not be exposed," Carr said.