POINT PLEASANT — With only a few months of influenza season left, Mason County has started receiving reports of influenza cases, according to personnel with the Mason County Health Department.
The weekly “influenza-like” illness numbers have gradually increased over the past few weeks. This increase has not been anywhere as high as when influenza peaked last year in the last week of January, according to health department staff. Providers have reported cases of positive rapid flu swab tests of influenza A. Influenza cases are still reported as being sporadic in West Virginia.
The flu vaccine that was administered this season has been reported by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as being approximately 59 percent matched to the circulating flu viruses. This is much better than last years match, according to health department staff. The influenza vaccine is composed of vaccine to protect against both A and B viruses. It is never too late to receive the influenza vaccine although it does take approximately two weeks for a patient’s body to build an immunity to circulating flu viruses.
Signs and symptoms of influenza include a fever greater than 100 degrees, a cough, a sore throat, body aches and chills. If a person has these symptoms, they may schedule an appointment with a health care provider. If anti-virals are prescribed, it may shorten the symptoms by one to two days if the anti-virals are started within the first 24-48 hours of onset. If a person has the flu, gets better, then gets sick again, they should see their health care provider as it could indicate pneumonia—one of the most common complications of the flu.
The CDC recommends the most common ways to prevent the influenza virus from spreading is to cover coughs and sneezes, stay home if sick, wash hands and get the flu vaccination if a person has not already gotten the flu vaccination.
Submitted by personnel with the Mason County Health Department.