An Early….and Tough….Flu Season in Beatrice Area

Jefferson County health officials say local hospitals over capacity due to flu cases

Area so far spared flu spike

Flu season begins in October, and typically peaks between December and February.

Matt Maurer, the epidemiologist for Coconino County, holds a vial of influenza vaccine at the county health department in Flagstaff, Ariz.

In December, the Ohio Department of Health raised the level of flu activity in the state to "widespread", the highest level of concern.

Harding said the main reason for the rough flu season stems from the Centers for Disease Control missing the mark on the vaccine to combat the current strain.

Waterman said protective masks are available at health care offices as well as at kiosks throughout the hospital to be worn by people coming to the medical campus for appointments who have symptoms.

"If you already have the flu we'd advise people to follow the message "Catch It, Bin It, Kill It".

Rodriguez said that even if the vaccine is weak this year, vaccinating is still the most important thing county residents can do to avoid getting sick and mitigate the illness if they do get sick.

As flu activity increases in Los Angeles County this week - killing almost three times as many people as at the same point previous year - public health officials have a message: It's not too late to get vaccinated.

"We definitely saw a large increase in the last couple of weeks here in Denton County, much more so than the previous year and earlier than previous years too", Rodriguez said. H3N2-predominant flu seasons have been associated with more severe illness, especially among children and adults age 65 and older. The vaccine's effectiveness against those strains has been found to be closer to 50 to 60 percent, he said. "If you are sick, please stay home to prevent further spread of the virus".

Flu symptoms can come on suddenly with a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache and fatigue, though not everyone with the flu runs a fever, Rohler noted. "However, if the next person that walks in is sicker than you, they will go first".

Administering a flu vaccination to a patient is Terri Buratczuk, clinical director of the Tri City Health Partnership, a free health clinic in St. Charles that provides services for those who are uninsured or underinsured. A study also done on flu vaccination said that it can significantly reduce a child's risk of dying from influenza.

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