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Flu Hits Pennsylvania Hard

Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. Most of these deaths occurred among people older than 65, but the fatalities included two individuals younger than 50 who were otherwise healthy.

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With flu season well underway staff at a York County nursing home is doing it’s best to protect those most vulnerable.

“ What’s important to remember is in a facility like this as well as all kinds of nursing homes around the commonwealth, all of us are taking precautions right now. But for us it starts before flu season with residents getting vaccinated,” says Carl Lindquist, York County Communications Director

According to the CDC people over 65 have much lower immune systems than the rest of us making them that much more susceptible to this harsh flu season. The Pleasant Acres Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Springettsbury Township  has 8 confirmed cases of the flu . Because of that family members are not permitted to come and visit  and people within the facility are not permitted to visit other wings of the nursing home. Everyone who works in the nursing home is also required to wear masks to help prevent the spread of the flu.

Local News
01/11/13

Dr. Eric Barr Answers Flu Questions

Many of you still have questions about the flu and to help us answer those is Doctor Eric Barr from Family Medicine Associates of York

 

Local News
01/11/13

York County Daycare Prepares For Flu Season

Kids are being hit hard by the flu strain, and that has local daycare centers stepping up efforts to protect children. Small Steps in Springettsbury Township, York County sent out a memo to staff this week urging them to take extra precautions to help keep the flu from spreading.  Staff members are being asked to wash the kids hands frequently, sanitize toys and nap maps and wipe off all surfaces after use. ” A couple of children have had like upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, so we are trying to gear up for the flu season which may be soon starting or has started,” says Kathy Sweeney, General Manager of Small Steps Daycare.  “Hand washing is the number one and doing extra sanitizing of the toys and their nap mats and we also ask the parents to take their nap items home, wash them and bring them back in on Monday.  If any of the children put the toys in their mouth we try to make sure that they are put in a bin and then sanitized.”

“If the children are running a temperature of 101 or higher , if they have severe diarrhea bouts, or if they are throwing up we call the parents. We also ask then to for those symptoms if the symptoms are free before they return to daycare.”

The York City Bureau of Health will open up additional clinic times for free, influenza vaccines for York City residents to address the increase in influenza in our community.

Walk-in clinics for York City residents at the Albert S. Weyer Health Center, 435 West Philadelphia St., will be available during the following times:

Thursday, January 17 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Friday, January 18 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Widespread flu activity is being reported nationally as well as in Pennsylvania.  The York City Bureau of Health recommends that all persons aged 6 months or older should get their flu vaccine, and especially those at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

•           Pregnant women

•           Residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities

•           Individuals 65 years of age and older

•           Individuals under 65 years of age: with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease (asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema), kidney disease, diabetes, morbid obesity (BMI greater than 40), and neurological conditions; with medical conditions that cause a weakened immune system, such as various types of cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection that causes AIDS, and certain medical treatments that alter the immune system.

Source: The York City Bureau of Health

Local News
01/10/13

Hospitals handling busy flu season

Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. Most of these deaths occurred among people older than 65, but the fatalities included two individuals younger than 50 who were otherwise healthy.

The deaths have included two elderly women in Lancaster County, according to a Health Department spokeswoman.

Officials say the commonwealth has seen more than 11,000 cases of flu already this season. Last season, Pennsylvania logged over 3,000.

“Some things that keep going up eventually will come down, but we don’t know when that’ll occur,” said Dr. Ram Nambiar, acting director for the state’s Bureau of Epidemiology.

Health officials say there’s still time to get a flu shot. This season’s shot matches the strain of flu that’s causing so many problems. That strain is known as Influenza A/H3N2.

“The numbers have been extraordinarily high,” said Dr. Nirmal Joshi, Chief Medical Officer at Harrisburg Hospital.

Joshi said the last time doctors saw a season this busy was in 2005-2006

The hospital’s taken several steps to handle the particularly strong flu season. Masks are available to everyone who comes to the emergency department. The hospital has staffing plans in place to adjust in the event even more patients come in or staff members themselves come down with the flu.

“What perpetuates the issue a little bit is that the staff themselves tend to be like regular patients too. They also get sick. So, that impacts things a little bit. But, we have not been in a situation where we have not had enough staff. We’ve had adequate staff to care for all the patients who come to us,” said Joshi.

Joshi said the hospital has two trailers on standby to come to the hospital and provide extra space to see patients should the need arise.

He said the only change affecting visitation is that only immediate family are allowed to visit kids under five.

That’s one group typically impacted more strongly by the flu. This year’s strain is particularly hitting seniors. Health officials also encourage people with existing chronic health conditions to take proper precautions as well to try to prevent catching the flu.

Local News
01/10/13

Flu Hits Pennsylvania Hard

Pennsylvania has had 22 flu-related deaths so far this season, according to data from the state’s Department of Health. Most of these deaths occurred among people older than 65, but the fatalities included two individuals younger than 50 who were otherwise healthy.

Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania, set up a heated tent outside the hospital to serve as a clinic. Anyone with mild flu symptoms can be treated quickly and discharged, isolated from more serious cases. The hospital has been seeing an additional 80 to 100 patients with flu-like symptoms daily.

Protect yourself

If you haven’t gotten an annual flu vaccine, it’s not too late, doctors say. To further protect yourself, try to avoid anyone who is sneezing and coughing, and wash your hands. Also, exercise and eat healthy foods, doctors say.

Doctors also say most flu patients should not go to an emergency room. They will likely be sent home, as there is very little that can be done for them. A fever as high as 103 degrees Fahrenheit is common in the flu.

Patients with normal flu symptoms should get a lot of rest and take painkillers to help with muscle aches.

But health experts warn that there are scenarios in which going to a hospital is necessary. If a patient is short of breath, or can’t keep fluids down because of nausea, these are signs of a problem that needs immediate attention, as vomiting or sweating from fever can lead to dehydration.

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