What's Going Around: early flu - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around: early flu

Early flu numbers are rising in Southwest Louisiana, according to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital infection preventionist, Bridget Redlich. (Source: KPLC) Early flu numbers are rising in Southwest Louisiana, according to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital infection preventionist, Bridget Redlich. (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Flu activity is up in Southwest Louisiana, an earlier than usual start to the season.

The influenza virus generally peaks in the colder months, particularly in December, but Lake Charles Memorial Hospital infection preventionist, Bridget Redlich, says she is already seeing early flu numbers rise.

"Definitely seeing reports of positive flu swabs, influenza-like illness," said Redlich, "many patients that are presenting with those symptoms."

Those symptoms center on the respiratory system, not to be confused with the "stomach flu" that affects the gastrointestinal tract.

"Cough, runny nose, any of those upper or lower respiratory symptoms.  The fever, chills, achiness, joint aches and pains," said Redlich.

The antiviral, Tamiflu, fights the flu virus in the body, but needs to be taken quickly after the on-set of symptoms to be effective.  Redlich explains when to see a doctor:

"As with anything, if the fever doesn't subside within the first 24-48 hours, that's really when you should start seeking medical attention," she said.

Those presenting at the hospital are the most at-risk populations.

"Younger people, older people, those with other health issues," said Redlich.  "Those tend to be your more vulnerable population.  It's really hard to determine if there's going to be a more specific vulnerable population like we had a few years ago."

The 2013-2014 flu season hit middle-aged people hard, even resulting in several deaths in Southwest Louisiana.

The flu shot is the best prevention and the earlier you get it, the earlier you are protected.

Flu shots are available at clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies across Southwest Louisiana.  Just a reminder: FluMist is not being offered this flu season due to it not being effective over the past three years.

Copyright KPLC 2016.  All rights reserved.

 

Powered by Frankly