Flu season hits hard

By Andrew Wigger - awigger@newberryobserver.com

NEWBERRY COUNTY — This flu season there have been two strains that have been infecting residents. Dr. Edwin Leap, associate medical director of the Emergency Department at Newberry County Memorial Hospital said they have seen numerous flu cases this year.

“We are seeing, gotta be 30 a day, with the flu, that is just a guess,” he said. “It’s all across the spectrum, tends to hit the very old harder, people with chronic medical conditions, like COPD and diabetes, those folks get it worse. Sometimes infants, and very young kids, will get it worse, but we haven’t seen a lot of that. We’ve seen the flu in kids, but haven’t seen a lot of children really badly sick with it.”

There have been two strains of the flu, A and B, and some people have been infected with both strains at the same time.

“Influenza changes from year to year, every year the CDC and World Health Organization tries really hard to predict what flu strain it will be. Because the virus changes every year, there are differences in it’s makeup, some years we recognize it and some years we don’t,” Leap said.

Leap’s recommendation for anyone is to get the vaccine. He said if you get the vaccine, and still get the flu, it may be less severe.

“The flu strains all have common chemical makeup, your body will recognize some of that, even if it is not exactly the same. So I think you’ll probably get a less severe strain of the flu, if you get the vaccine,” he said.

If you get the flu, he recommends that you stay hydrated and treat your fever with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, if you can take them. He says over the counter measures and staying hydrated are a big deal.

“If you have a hard time breathing, if you can’t keep fluids in, if you can’t stand up because you are dizzy or confused, in those cases you should come to the hospital. If you just feel lousy and achy, we cannot make that better, it’ll take time,” he said.

He also recommends home remedies like gargle with salt water or drinking hot tea with lemon and honey. He also says that if you are sick, stay home so you don’t risk infecting other people.

“Strains change during the course of the flu season, so it may mutate. You might get a second infection, might defeat the vaccination you get. The vaccination is imperfect, and is never 100%. This year I think it is 35%, so a lot of people got the vaccine, but got the flu,” he said.

By Andrew Wigger

awigger@newberryobserver.com

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.

Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.