With confirmed flu cases continuing to climb in Greene County, our local healthcare community has opted to implement visitor restrictions to hospital facilities in the area.
Flu season officially begins in October but this year's particularly risky strain, H3N2, has come relatively early and the season has probably not reached its peak yet.
The goal is "to manage/screen an influx of walk-in flu patients today", the hospital said in a statement to KNSD Thursday.
"Usually in other years we see Influenza B towards the end of the flu season, generally in February".
The strain of influenza circulating this year is known to cause severe illness, according to a city release sent out today. At least 11 people younger than 65 have died in California, while North Carolina has reported 12 deaths and SC seven.
Nationwide, nine children have died because of the flu through December 16.
Experts recommend everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot to prevent sickness, and, even though flu season is well underway, it's not too late to get vaccinated.
The CDC is reporting an increase in cases of the H3N2 flu strain, but Modi said doctors just test for the flu, not the specific strain.
It's very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at higher risk for flu complications based on their age or underlying medical conditions. The vaccine is changed every year to include a mixture of strains of the virus that circulated in prior years.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, practicing good hygiene such as washing hands, covering one's cough, and staying home when sick can prevent those around you from becoming ill.
Lutheran General officials said, "Those experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, must refrain from visiting patients".