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Home News-Telegram News Flu bug is alive and making people ill in Hopkins County

Flu bug is alive and making people ill in Hopkins County

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From Staff Reports
    All it takes is a look at the clinics, the emergency room and doctors’ offices to see many people are suffering from the annual illness and many others are looking to get their flu shot.
    At Hopkins County Memorial Hospital Friday morning, there were more than 60 patients, many with flu-like symptoms, according to Chief Executive Officer and Administrator Michael McAndrew.
    “I guess we've got the highest census that we've had for quite a while,” McAndrew said. “I can't tell you what it is, but we know, we've been hearing from our ER and our clinic physicians that the flu has been running rampant. There is no one thing I could point to. We have had people come in that have tested positive and haven't had their flu shots.”
    On a daily basis, Dallas and Fort Worth areas are reporting on the casualties of the flu.
    “We've not had any fatalities in Hopkins County. We have had cases — most are outpatient to the ER. Most are type A, which is H1N1, what we are seeing primarily across the state. We've seen a decrease in the last two weeks,” said HCMH Director of Infection Control Roberta Vanderburg, a registered nurse with more than 40 years experience in the medical field.
    Vanderburg said HCMH first started treating patients for flu in mid-December, according to the required weekly reports the hospital sends to Texas Department of State Health Services.  The first week, the reports show eight people, then spiking to 28 people with flu. The numbers have decreased over the last two weeks from 12 to nine cases last week.
    “These are just the ones that tested positive in our lab at the hospital,” she said. “The majority of those numbers were not vaccinated. We've had no flu-related deaths.”
    Hospital officials believe some of that reduction is due to the state and national media blitz by the Centers for Disease control and TDSHS urging people to visit their physician to get the flu shot if they have not already been vaccinated this year. She also reiterated their urgent appeal to those who experience flu-like symptoms to visit their doctor for treatment while taking precautions to limit exposure of the illness to others.
    To guard against exposure, Vanderburg and HCMH Director of Managed Care Sherry Moore remind people to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer; cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze; stay home from work or school when sick; see a doctor and avoid public areas such as the grocery store, church and movie theaters when experiencing fever and feeling sniffly.
    McAndrew said the hospital always encourages people to get the shot.
    “It's maybe a little late now, but I'm sure somebody would say it's never too late. It is a little better if they start [the shots] in the fall of the year, but the way things are going, I certainly wouldn't discourage anybody from getting one if they can find it,” he said.
    The flu generally takes one to four days to incubate, and is commonly contracted within two days of exposure.
    “Children are quite susceptible to infection, for 10 or more days, and tend to spread it more problematically,” Vanderburg said.
    The hospital is taking a precautionary step as well regarding visitation in hope of reducing spread and exposure of people to flu.
    “At the requests of some of our physicians, we would like to restrict/limit visitors that are age 13 and younger at Memorial Hospital,” Moore said, noting that hospital visitors should obey signs posted throughout hospital waiting areas related to flu and cough hygiene, such as asking for a mask and other precautionary measures currently in place for their protection and that of others.

 

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