Flu numbers up in WV

Debbie RolenStaff Writer

January 3, 2013

CHARLESTON – Thru mid-December, state figures show there were 10,676 confirmed flu cases in West Virginia, the highest number for the same period in at least five years. The Centers for Disease Control says West Virginia is among 31 states reporting widespread flu activity.

Sherry Adams with the Logan County Health Department says Logan County flu cases increased beginning the first week in December. Adams said she receives reports each week on the number of diagnosed cases. She says the report for this week is a little down, but two clinics based in schools have not reported since schools have been closed for winter break.

“Logan County numbers are in line with the higher numbers for most of the other counties,” said Adams, “People can still get the vaccine; it isn’t too late. It does take two weeks to be completely protected by the vaccine, but it is available and will prevent some people from getting sick.”

According to Adams, influenza illness symptoms are most commonly fever, cough and/or sore throat. Other symptoms may also be present including body aches, headaches and nausea.

People who are in high risk categories, have health or immune system issues or just didn’t get vaccinated and have been exposed to the flu need to consult a doctor about the possibility of taking antiviral medication.

Adams listed some tips for protecting yourself and people in your home from getting the flu: wash hands with soap and water often; cover coughs; avoid face-to-face contact with anyone who has the flu; don’t take children under six months old where there is a possibility of exposure since they are too young to be vaccinated; hold small children who are sick with their chin on your shoulder so that they will not cough in your face; keep surfaces clean (especially bedside tables, surfaces in the bathroom, doorknobs, phones, and children’s toys); use anti-bacterial wipes on carts or anywhere else you feel is appropriate and stay home if you are sick.

For more information, contact the Logan County Health Department at 304-792-8630 or logancountyhealthdepartment.org or visit flu.gov.