Flu packing a punch in county
County residents are far from immune as the worst flu season in nine years sweeps across the state.
Roger Schroeder, marketing director for St. Luke Hospital, said that every day the hospital has tested for influenza this month, at least one test has come back positive.
Physician Scott Akers said the flu season was the worst since 2009.
He pointed to statewide statistics for the flu reporting period since the first week of September showing 65 deaths directly caused by flu and 32 more in which flu was a contributing cause.
In addition, 174 Kansans have died from pneumonia, a common complication of flu, during that period, and pneumonia has been a contributing cause of death for 566 people.
The outbreak has kept Eric Driggers, owner of Hillsboro Hometown Pharmacy, busy.
“We’ve seen quite a few antiviral prescriptions,” Driggers said. “The flu shot doesn’t seem to have provided the coverage we’d have hoped for.”
Not all prescriptions have been for patients who already have the flu.
“We’re seeing more preventative prescriptions than treatment,” he said. “To use the antiviral you have to use it within 24 to 48 hours of onset of symptoms. A lot of times people don’t get in as quickly as that.”
Driggers said physicians often prescribed antivirals for family members of patients with flu.
“We highly encourage the flu shot,” Driggers said. “We usually have better coverage than this.”
The state health department recommends these steps to limit chances of contracting or spreading the flu:
- Avoid contact with people you know are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Drink lots of water and get good nutrition.
- Don’t smoke.
Last modified Feb. 15, 2018