Confirmed flu cases still climbing at Reid Health

January 12th, 2018

Still time to get vaccine — and wash your hands!

Confirmed flu cases in the Reid Health system are significantly higher as of Jan. 6 than they were last flu season – making prevention as important as ever, says Kim Schneider, RN in charge of Infection Control at Reid Health.

“I just can’t stress enough to be aware that flu is out there and people need to take steps to avoid getting the flu or spreading it,” Schneider said. She said confirmed cases of flu this year is at almost 350 at Reid Health — it was only 22 at the same time during last year’s season. So far flu has been involved in 46 admissions, while only two admissions were recorded by the same date in 2017.

She stressed the importance of getting the flu vaccine. “Even if the flu vaccine is not 100 percent effective, if you do end up with the flu, the symptoms may be milder,” she said. The symptoms of flu are headache, extreme tiredness, sore throat and runny nose, coughing and body aches.

She recommends following the “three Cs” – Clean, Cover and Contain:

  • Clean – Wash your hands often. Carry hand sanitizer to use when handwashing isn’t available. Use it after doing things like shopping or pumping gas.
  • Cover – If you cough, cough into your arm and not into your hands.
  • Contain – If you get sick, stay home to avoid infecting others.

Reid Health has stations throughout the hospital that contain antibacterial gel, tissues and masks. “Please use them before visiting your loved one. It is appropriate to wear a mask when visiting a hospitalized patient,” Schneider said.

If you show signs of the flu, depending on severity, consider a virtual urgent care visit with the Reid HealthNOW mobile app, see your family physician, or visit an urgent care to see if antiviral medication is appropriate.

(Watch video on proper handwashing HERE)

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