Flu cases on rise in St. Charles
This year’s flu season got off to its earliest start in a decade, according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu strains circulating this year also tend to cause more severe diseases. Frieden said that 47 states have reported widespread flu activity and that 20 children have died due to the virus.
Flu normally doesn’t blanket the country until late January or February.
Julia Bodden, spokeswoman for the St. Charles Community Health Center, said that there has been an increase in the number of flu cases seen by physicians and that the center’s flu vaccine stock is almost depleted. While the vaccine is important in regards to flu prevention, Frieden said that the overall effectiveness of the vaccine is only 62 percent.
"That means that if you got vaccinated you were about 60 percent less likely to get the flu that required you to go to your doctor," Frieden said. "So what we have known for a long time is that the flu vaccine is far from perfect."
Frieden also said that there are spot shortages of the vaccine across the country. More than 130 million doses that were produced by the vaccine’s manufacturers have already been given.
"So if you haven’t been vaccinated and want to be, better late than never, but call your provider ahead of time," he said.
This year’s early flu arrival also coincided with spikes in a variety of other viruses that mimic the flu and cause similar symptoms. Most people don’t undergo lab tests to confirm flu, and the symptoms are so similar that it can be hard to distinguish flu from other viruses.
Quinn Landry, spokesman for St. Charles Parish Hospital, said the hospital has seen an increased volume of patients in the last few weeks, but that most of the viruses treated were not related to the flu virus. Dr. Brent Giuffre, emergency services medical director for the hospital, said he has not seen a huge increase in flu patients but still wants to remind people that preventive measures like washing hands often and avoiding close contact with people who are sick are great ways to help avoid the spread of germs.
On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the CDC. Flu usually peaks in midwinter. Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people also suffer vomiting and diarrhea, and some develop pneumonia or other severe complications.
Some people, such as the elderly, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at a high risk for serious flu complications.
People with flu can spread it to others from up to six feet away. Most experts believe flu viruses can spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The St. Charles Community Health Center is currently offering flu shots for $15. Walgreens is offering the shots for $31.99 and CVS is offering flu shots for $29.99, though the shots are covered by most insurance plans.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
Charges have been reduced against an 18-year-old Metairie man who was arrested in...
Trout fishing in Grand Isle has been hit or miss this summer. Depending on who you...
The ongoing saga of St. Charles Parish’s Aviation Board seat has taken yet another...
Fourteen years ago, St. Charles Parish deputies were called to a bloody scene after...
Not too many animal trappers can boast the resume of St. Rose’s John Schmidt, who...
Stanley Wajda, who spent the last seven months as paid fire chief of the Hahnville...
The way hardware stores used to and should be is right here in St. Charles. Prompt courteous service from the moment you walk in. Experienced staff eager to assist you find what you need for your next project. Propane refills, U-Haul Rentals available
Go nutty for seeds harvested in Des Allemands swamp - 1279 views
Those fields of lily pads are more than just fish magnets — they’re a source of some of great food. Here’s how one Des Allemands resident takes advantage of the bounty.