ROCKINGHAM- Though it may seem like everyone you know is getting the flu, there are fewer cases than last season.
In fact, Jayne Lee, R.N, director of Infection Control and Patient Safety for FirstHealth of the Carolinas, says flu numbers for January 2019 were well below the numbers for January 2018 at Moore Regional Hospital-Richmond.
For this month, Lee said the numbers were pretty much on track with 2018, with 17 flu patients admitted in 2019 and 16 in February of last year.
“The emergency department has been very busy with flu cases, but still lower numbers than last year,” Lee said. “This is similar to what is being seen across the state.”
The Carolinas are two out of 26 states experiencing the highest level of influenza-like illnesses across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several states along the Canadian border including Washington, Michigan and Wisconsin are seeing minimal effects.
That being said, North Carolina is so far faring better than the past two seasons.
According to a chart from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, influenza-like illnesses peak between the end of January and the end of February.
From Feb. 3-9, DHHS reports there were 16 new flu-related deaths, bringing the total for the season up to 52.
Dr. Tommy Jarrell, county health director, said there have also been several other respiratory illnesses going around other than influenza.
FirstHealth implemented the following visitor restrictions at all of its hospitals in early January due to the outbreak of flu:
- Please visit immediate family only if absolutely necessary.
- Please do not allow children under 12 to visit the hospital.
- If you are experiencing the following symptoms, please do not visit anyone in the hospital: Fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
FirstHealth Convenient Care offers the following precautions to take to help prevent the spread of flu:
- Frequent hand-washing – Use warm soapy water. If possible, do not use a “bar” soap. If you cannot wash frequently, use the antimicrobial hand-cleansing solution that does not require water. You can keep it in your work area, in your car or anywhere that washing is not available. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, because germs are often spread this way.
- Avoid crowds – Try to avoid crowds whenever possible, especially if you are rundown or not feeling up to par. If you get the flu, stay home to prevent others from becoming sick, too.
- Get plenty of rest – Be good to yourself, take time out of your busy schedule to rest and relax, and try to get a full night of sleep.
- Maintain a proper diet – Don’t depend on snacks to carry you through. Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Think of others – Remember to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Jarrell also encourages county residents to get the flu vaccine if they haven’t already, saying there are still doses available at the Richmond County Health Department.