County records 1st case of flu
Influenza type A has made its appearance in Marion County.
Roger Schroeder, marketing director for St. Luke Hospital in Marion, said he was told a Marion youth tested positive last week.
County health nurse Diedre Serene said she had not been notified of the positive test, but health care providers are not required to report positive flu tests unless flu is the cause of death in a patient 18 or younger.
On a voluntary basis, health care providers can notify the state of positive test results for adults and youth who did not die from the flu, and the state typically notifies the local health department.
Flu causes respiratory illness, achiness, and fatigue. Onset of influenza is typically abrupt, unlike the gradual onset of a cold.
“With influenza you usually have fever and body aches, where with a cold you don’t have body aches and fever is slight,” Serene said.
Data on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website shows the flu season typically peaks in late January and early February.
Serene said the health department still had a limited number of flu shots available and a very limited amount for patients ages 6 months to 3 years.
“We give flu vaccinations through the spring to people who have not gotten them,” Serene said.
The health department still has some state-paid vaccinations for people 19 and older who have no health insurance.
The health department is accepting appointments for flu shot at (620) 382-2550.
Other prevention tips include:
- Avoid close contact with people who do have a flu-like or cold-like illness.
- Cover your mouth with the crook of your elbow when coughing.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based skin sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your nose or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect items that are frequently touched.
- Stay home at least 24 hours after any fever.
“I think just staying home when they’re sick will help a lot,” Serene said.
Serene provided tips from the Centers for Disease Control to recognize when flu is an emergency.
In children, they include rapid or labored breathing, bluish skin, lack of drinking fluids, not waking up or not interacting, extreme irritability, fever with a rash, or flu-like symptoms that improve and then return with fever and worse cough.
In adults, the more serious symptoms are difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, and flu-like symptoms that improve and then return with fever and worse cough.