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Clarion County Health Officials Report 40 Cases of Flu This Season
At the Primary Health Network’s Clarion Community Health Center Express Care, Nurse Practitioner Paula Scalise said they have seen only Influenza type B so far this flu season.
“We haven’t seen a lot of symptoms that are like the flu,” Scalise told exploreClarion.com. “We haven’t done a whole lot of testing (for the flu) because we haven’t seen, clinically, the symptoms that coincide with the diagnosis of the flu.”
While Influenza B may is a milder version of the flu, Scalise said it still makes you sick.
“Typically, you’re sick for about five or six days. It’s very contagious, so you don’t want to go to work.”
Scalise recommends a flu shot. You can get a shot from your doctor or just about any pharmacy in the area.
There has been a noticeable uptick of cases diagnosed at the Brookville Hospital since the holidays, according to Beth Keth, Organizational Performance Improvement and Patient Safety Officer at Penn Highlands.
“The flu is a virus. It’s different than a cold. If you have the flu, it’s important to stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever goes away,” Keth explained.
Most people experience mild symptoms that will go away on their own. For those individuals who have the flu but find they not getting better, or are in a high-risk category, Keth recommends seeing their primary care doctor.
January is typically when the flu season peaks.
According to Brittany Lauffer, Public Information Officer with the Department of Health, the western Pennsylvania region is currently the heaviest hit by the flu season.
“It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Cases (reported in the state) are doubling just about every week. When you get a vaccination, you’re protecting yourself as well as others.”
The nasal vaccine for the flu was also approved this year.
According to Lauffer, it’s considered to be as effective as the flu shot.
Vaccines are especially encouraged for the very young, the elderly, and those who may be immune suppressed.
Throughout the state, 477 people have been hospitalized with flu symptoms since the flu season began in October. Lauffer said most of those are children under the age of 15.
Thirteen people have died from flu-associated illnesses this season through the week ending on Saturday, January 4. Of that number, ten were age 65 or older.
Individuals may have the flu if the following symptoms exist:
– Tiredness (can be extreme)
– Dry cough
– Sore throat
– Nasal congestion
– Body aches
Getting a flu shot cannot cause the flu, according to Lauffer.
As with any medical product, vaccines can cause side effects such as soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Patients may also experience headaches, fever, nausea, or muscle aches.
The following precautions can be taken to prevent spreading the flu:
– Cover your cough;
– Thoroughly wash your hands;
– Clean all surfaces;
– Stay home if you are sick;
– Wear a mask if you go out when you’re not feeling well; and
– Use hand sanitizer and wipe down grocery store carts before use.
For those who believe they have the flu, taking antiviral medication as prescribed as soon as possible is essential.
See local flu statistics from the Department of Health here.
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