A few weeks ago, St. Rose Health Center providers were caring for one or two influenza patients a week.
Now they are treating several each day.
“We are seeing a significant increase,” said Haley Gleason, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) at St. Rose Family Medicine. “Most of these patients have influenza A, which is known to cause increased hospitalizations and deaths in older adults and young children.
“We also treat some influenza B cases, but influenza A is more prevalent – not just here but nationwide,” she added.
In some cases, Tamiflu is helpful during the first 48 to 72 hours of the onset of symptoms, depending on the patient’s age and/or high-risk conditions.
“Tamiflu is especially helpful for those over 65 and young children,” Gleason noted. “In addition, patients who have conditions such as asthma, diabetes, a compromised immune system or kidney problems may benefit from a Tamiflu prescription.”
Those who are wondering if an actual case of influenza is making their lives miserable can have their curiosity satisfied quickly.
“In 20 to 30 minutes, we can have test results that indicate whether or not you actually have the flu,” Gleason explained. “It is always better to know so that you can take precautions against infecting those close to you.
“This is really important if a family member is at high risk for the flu and its possible complications,” she added. “We encourage people to be tested as soon as possible.”
Alisha Stinemetz, APRN at St. Rose Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, noted common flu symptoms include high fever, body aches, cough and fatigue.
“When there is an influenza diagnosis, patients should stay home to lessen the chance of infecting others,” Stinemetz said. “Rest and lots of fluids are always recommended. The flu is a virus and we can treat only the symptoms.”
Stinemetz noted that antibiotics are not effective against an influenza viral infection, which is another reason to be tested. “An early diagnosis can reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics,” she explained.
Those who have not been vaccinated against the flu should consider doing so now.
“There is still time to get a flu shot,” Stinemetz said. “We cannot stress enough how important the vaccination can be.”