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Flu season hits early and hard

Posted: Thursday, Jan 10th, 2013




By TIMILEE WILBER

Pioneer Reporter

BRIDGER VALLEY – During the whole month of December, Wyoming was listed on a CDC weekly U.S. Map Influenza Update as influenza being “Widespread” in the state.

State of Wyoming Health Department Infectious Disease Manager Clay Van Houghton stated that this years’ flu cases are higher than last year, this year in Wyoming as well as nationally.

Fifty-eight Uinta County residents have tested positive for influenza since the end of September according to the Wyoming Department of Health, with 770 confirmed cases statewide. No deaths were reported in Wyoming due to influenza this flu season.

But everyone who gets the flu may not get tested, so the number of people who have contracted the flu virus may be much higher.

According to Clay Van Houten, Wyoming Department of Health emerging diseases unit chief, influenza activity has sharply increased across the state, particularly over the past two weeks. “In Wyoming, the level of flu activity we are seeing right now is higher than at any point since the unusually high level we saw in October 2009 during the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are quite a few ill people out there right now.”

According to Dr. Wendy Braund Senior Administrator with the Wyoming Department of Health, “Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.”

Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health, said basic common-sense measures can help slow or prevent influenza’s spread. “Covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze and cough; frequently washing your hands; and staying home from work, school, day care and errands when you are ill can help,” Murphy said.

If you get the flu antiviral medications may help, but only if taken within 48-hours of the onset of symptoms. Antiviral medications are prescription pills, liquids, or inhalers used to prevent or treat flu viruses. They are approved for adults and children one year and older.



For the complete article see the 01-11-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-11-2013 paper.











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