Good Samaritan is seeing an increase in the number of flu patients in the
hospital and encouraging everyone to take necessary precautions. The Centers
for Disease Control (CDC) reported in January that so far this season,
about six to seven million people have been sick with the flu in the United States.
Widespread influenza activity has been reported by 23 states and Indiana
is included. Flu activity for the state of Indiana has gone from minimal
local activity to widespread activity throughout the state in the last ten days.
There are two influenza viruses circulating, the A (H3N2) virus appears
to be dominating with the B virus following close behind. The A virus
usually is more severe and has higher hospitalization and death rates
associated with the virus. Good Samaritan is experiencing a high volume
of patients presenting to the Emergency Room, the Convenient Care and
their own physician offices with influenza-like symptoms and illness.
There has also been a high-volume of inpatient admissions diagnosed with
influenza that have developed complications associated with the illness
(i.e. pneumonia, dehydration, etc.).
Good Samaritan is asking the public not to visit the hospital or the inpatient
units if they are showing any signs of illness. Not only is Influenza
circulating but also a gastroenteritis (stomach flu) virus is circulating
within our area and the most common way to acquire both of these viruses
is contact with an infected person.
“Children under the age of 16 are asked not to visit but if they
must, a mask will be available for them to wear,” stated Robin McDonald, Infection/Prevention nurse at Good Samaritan. “Outpatients
that are arriving for services that are experiencing influenza-like symptoms
will be asked to wear a mask while in the physician offices, clinics,
emergency room or the hospital.”
While vaccine effectiveness can range from one flu season to the next;
the recommendation from the CDC is to get your flu shot if you haven’t
already done so. A late vaccination is still beneficial in preventing
the flu or minimizing the illness. Antiviral drugs are an important second
line of defense that can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC recommends
the use of antiviral drugs as early as possible to treat flu illness in
people who are very sick with flu and those at high risk of serious flu
Tips to avoid the flu are:
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
• Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, school or work.
• Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
To get more information about the flu and how you can keep your family
healthy, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.