Flu update for Fallon, Churchill County
December 16, 2014
The number of flu cases continues to rise in Churchill County, reports the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
As a result of the number of increased flu cases, Banner Churchill Community Hospital will offer a free flu vaccine clinic from 4-6 p.m. today and Thursday for people 6 months and older. Vaccines will be available on a first-come first-served basis.
Other options for residents include seeing their own physician or the Community Health Nurse.
"The state has more than 100 cases reported as of Monday in Churchill County, all in the last four weeks," said spokeswoman Sara Quale of Banner Churchill County Hospital. "They pulled numbers at the hospital, and this flu season the hospital has seen 108 patients test positive. They range in ages from 4 months to 91."
Quale said the state totals came from Danika Williams, a rural epidemiologist and preparedness coordinator with Rural Health and Community Services.
The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health said Churchill County has not experienced such a large influx of flu cases within such a short period of time since 2009.
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Dr. Jaclyn Costello, an emergency room doctor at Banner Churchill, said she is seeing people of all ages coming to the emergency room.
"We've seen more positive flu cases this year," she said.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta informed doctors that this year's flu vaccine is not as effective because the current virus strain has mutated.
The CDC, though, still recommends people receive their flu shots because it can still guard against other strains of viruses and lesson the severity of illness.
"We still recommend people getting the flu shot," Costello said.
Furthermore, Costello emphasizes the importance of people washing their hands and staying away from people coughing on them.
According to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, people who have the flu often feel some or all these signs or symptoms: fever/feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle/body aches, headaches, very tired, and some people may have vomiting or diarrhea. The health division said the flu viruses spread when people who have the flu cough, sneeze or talk.
Most people who come down with the flu have it from a few days to a week or two. The division of health, though, stated some people can develop complications that could be life-threatening or result in death.
The division of health said certain people are at greater risk for serious complications including older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
According to a statement from Immunize Nevada, flu season typically starts in the fall and peaks in January or February. Each year, an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population gets flu with more than 200,000 people finding themselves hospitalized, missing work and unable to recover quickly.
The CDC estimates that flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people each year, including many young, perfectly healthy people. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine; it is the single best defense against this serious disease.
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