Have a happy new year – get a flu shot and wash your hands!
Just in time for the new year, the Reid Health system is seeing a noticeable spike in patients testing positive for flu.
Schneider, RN, Infection Control at Reid Health, says the health
system's statistics jumped the week of Christmas to more than 200 positive
tests for flu. That concerns her because in the past four years, the highest
for any week during the annual flu season was 221. At the end of November, only
been recorded before trending up just in time for Christmas.
hope this doesn't mean we break any recent records for positive cases of flu
for the 2019-2020 season," Schneider said. More than half of the positive cases
were from people who visited Reid urgent care centers in Richmond, Connersville
and Eaton, Ohio. The sudden spike is an indication that the official "season"
for flu is starting earlier than last year, when cases peaked in late February
and early March.
"There have been 14 admissions this flu season with 10 of
the 14 admitted in December and the last 5 being admitted last week," she said.
"Flu is showing up already in almost every state," she said, seemingly starting
in southern states first.
"Flu is showing up already in almost every state." -- Kim Schneider, RN, Infection Control Preventionist at Reid Health
She encouraged anyone who hasn't obtained the flu shot
yet to do so, and to take all the normal steps to protect themselves and
others. "Wash your hands often, stay home when sick, and be careful when out
and about." Recent warm weather could be a factor in the early arrival of more
flu, because the more people are out and mingling, the more likely bugs will be
Monica Schlichter, director of operations for Reid Health
Urgent Cares/Ready Care, said her team has definitely noticed the increase. She
said anyone coming in to those facilities in Eaton, Connersville and Richmond
are encouraged to take advantage of masks, hand sanitizers and tissues
available at the entrances. "It's a good time to take every precaution," she
said. Urgent cares or the Reid HealthNOW mobile app are the ideal options for
patients who can't see their regular caregivers and suspect flu, she said.
Schneider says besides the vaccine, the following tips are tried and true to
reduce chances for the flu:
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth - this is how germs spread and get into your system
- Clean and disinfect potential surfaces that could be contaminated such as grocery carts, and gas pumps
- Carry hand sanitizer and use it after touching things like door handles and counters
you get sick, limit contact with others. The Centers for Disease Control
recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone,
except to get medical care or for other necessities.
if the doctor prescribes antivirals, be sure to take them.
If you show
signs of the flu, depending on severity, consider a virtual urgent care visit
using the Reid HealthNOW mobile app, see your family
physician, or visit an urgent care to see if antiviral medication is