A rarer form of the flu is on the rise, along with a respiratory virus in children and more cases of the stomach bug. That is what's going around this week in Southwest Louisiana.
Flu cases are on the decline with about two percent of the population reportedly having the virus. Here is the change: infection preventionists are reporting a shift in the type of flu strain making people sick.
Type A cases still dominate, but Type B cases are increasing. That is a milder form of the flu compared to Type A or H1N1. Bridget Boudreaux is the Lake Charles Memorial Health System infection preventionist. She says, "It's not as severe, typically, as the H1N1 strain has been. That was very common with our younger, healthier population."
Respiratory infections are also on the rise this week, particularly in children being treated for RSV. "They tend to have very thick, copious amounts of secretions that are not the norm for just a regular runny nose type situation," said Boudreaux, "they tend to have difficulty breathing."
Over-the-counter medications can treat those symptoms and antibiotics will occasionally be used if the child is at a higher risk for developing a secondary infection.
Next up, that lingering stomach bug or norovirus. The cold weather can be blamed for extra exposure. "When it's warmer," said Boudreaux, "people are out and about and then all of a sudden it's freezing cold and confined, all in one space and so any of those viruses will spread like wildfire."
The best way to protect yourself against that nasty stomach bug is frequent handwashing.