So many residents of Mineral County spent their holidays battling the influenza virus.
The Independent-News reached out to Mineral County Health Officer Wanda Nixon and Mt. Grant General Hospital Administrator Hugh Qualls to better assist our readers during the flu season.
In a statement from Nixon, she explains, “During the last week of November about 2.2 percent of sentinel provider visits in Nevada were due to influenza like illness, and in December this rate increased to 3.2 percent which is considerably above the state baseline of 1.5 percent. As of mid-December, 205 of 521 lab-tested specimens in Nevada were positive for influenza; most of these confirmed cases 192 were due to influenza A, while only 13 cases were due to influenza B and, 110 of all influenza A cases were A(H3). The most commonly identified virus this current season is influenza A (H3N2) virus.”
Common symptoms with the influenza virus include: fever; chills; severe headache; sore throat; chest congestion; nasal congestion; coughing; sneezing; weakness/lethargy; nausea/diarrhea and severe body/joint aches.
It should be noted that you can still get the flu even if you received the flu vaccine.
“Unfortunately, in past season in which A(H3N2) virus predominated, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine was lower, and hospitalizations and deaths were higher than average. According to CDC this year’s vaccine effectiveness may be as low as last years, at 32 percent for A(H3N2),” the statement explained.
Qualls reported that Mt. Grant General Hospital had eight positive results over the last two weeks for influenza with 14 suspected “but not confirmed (though symptoms typical of flu).”
“Additionally, CDC recommends early treatment with influenza antiviral medications for patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated, or progressive illnesses,” the statement continued. “The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health reminds clinicians to consider NAI (antivirals treatment) for all inpatients and all high-risk patients (whether inpatient or outpatient) who are suspected of having or confirmed to have influenza. High-risk patients include: individuals with severe, complicated, or progressive illnesses, including outpatients with severe or prolonged progressive symptoms or those who develop pneumonia; children under age two years and individuals age 65 years and older, as well as people younger than 19 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy; American Indians/Alaska natives; women who are pregnant or within two weeks postpartum; individuals with suppressed immune systems; extremely obese individuals (body mass index of at least 40 and those living in long-term care facilities.”
If you believe you have influenza, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor.