Flu epidemic is heading west

According to reports coming in from around the country, there is a spread of influenza that has proven deadly to some. According to maps tracking the virus, the spread began on the east coast and is heading west. While individual maps vary, it appears that the worst cases are in the states east of Oregon; Washington, Oregon and California at present being spared the worst of the disease.

Reports say that the flu has taken just a handful of lives, but this is a very early flu season and the worst may yet to come. So far, there seems to have been much more press than disease, however, the long winters we have been experiencing can change that rapidly. The centers for Disease Control in Atlanta say that it is never too late to get the flu vaccine. Mild reactions to the shots are the norm, but are supposedly much less than the virus itself. The CDC also says that there is enough vaccine now to inoculate everyone.

Twenty-nine states plus New York City are now reporting high flulike activity, up from 16 states the week before, the CDC says. Forty-one states reported in the last week of December that flulike activity was widespread geographically, with that number up from 31 states the week before, according to the CDC.

Locally, the flu has not affected the population like it has to the east. According to Glen Finley of the Eagle Point Medical Center clinic, there has been an increase in the number of cases of people with flu-like symptoms, though the number is currently only one or two per day. Finley says that the flu is this year much more severe than what we’ve seen in the past several years. He stresses that a person who gets the flu should come to the clinic immediately where medications can lessen the symptoms and prevent a much more severe case if left untreated.

Symptoms are fever, aching, sore throat and feelings of being tired. Finley says that the Clinic in Eagle Point has a supply of the vaccine and folks should visit the clinic to make sure they are protected. He also says there are many precautions that people can take that will help keep them safe. Some of those are to keep hands washed and avoid contact with anyone who has the flu. Good nutrition and proper rest are important for general health, but even more so while the flu lingers in the area. While the virus may be spread by airborne germs, the most common way to catch the flu is through touch.

Again, Finley stresses that anyone displaying the symptoms need not make an appointment at the clinic, but they may walk in and be treated.

If projections are at all accurate, this flu is nothing to be careless about. Follow rules of cleanliness, good nutrition, rest and seek treatment when symptoms first appear. Deaths have been reported in the east; hopefully the virus will run out of gas as it moves west.



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