Local physicians and health care workers are seeing a higher number of influenza A and B cases than most years.
“I’m seeing the most that I’ve seen in my 30 years of practicing medicine,” said Dr. Brian Wolfe of The Family Physicians.
Influenza A and B, strains of the flu, are being recorded in higher-than-normal numbers, he said.
On Wednesday, Jefferson Elementary recorded 19 absences of 289 students.
“But on Tuesday, we had 40 students out,” said Principal Brad Crusinbery.
Lincoln Elementary recorded 22 absences due to illness out of its 243 students on Wednesday, said Brenda Leonard, administrative assistant.
Districtwide, 105 students were reported ill out of 1,300 students on Wednesday, said Jacki Chase, school nurse.
“We’re seeing some confirmed influenza cases,” said Chase. Students who have temperatures of 100 degrees or above are to stay home for 24 hours after the fever has subsided.
IT’S NOT too late to get a flu shot, Chase said.
It takes about two weeks for its effects to take hold, she said. Peak immunity comes about six weeks after inoculation.
For those who received flu shots but still come down with the flu, its symptoms will be less severe, Chase said.
Flu vaccine is still available at the Multi-County Health Department, said Ruby Gulick, clerk.
“We just received another shipment of doses,” she said. It’s the second time the department has reordered from its initial allotment, she said.
Altogether, the department has ordered 800 doses, said Dee Dee Martin, interim chief nursing officer, which is higher than normal.
“Demand has been high,” she said, and said the vaccine can be given up “clear up through March and April.”
Call the department at 365-2191 for more information.
The health department does not have a physician on staff to treat illnesses. “We just work in preventative care,” Gulick said.
FOR THOSE suffering from flu-like symptoms both Chase and Wolfe encouraged them to see a doctor.
“If you have influenza A or B, then the medication Tamiflu can help,” Wolfe said. For those living in infected households but have yet to contract the bug, Tamiflu can help ward off infection, Wolfe said.
“It’s important to come within 72 of being exposed or of contracting Influenza A or B,” Wolfe said. “After that point of time, you just let nature take its course.”
Influenza A and B fall within the broader scope of flu, and can be treated with medication, Wolfe said.
Chase said there’s a “lot going around, some of which is influenza A and B, but some of which are respiratory viruses as well as upset stomachs and diarrhea.