Hospital Reports Dramatic Increase in Flu Cases This Year

JACKSONVILLE, NC  -- Onslow Memorial Hospital officials report a dramatic increase in flu cases this year, and are encouraging citizens to be vigilant in preventing the spread of infection.

From January 1 through February 19, the hospital’s emergency department tested 686 people for the flu, and 158 of those were positive.   During that same time period last year only 5 of the 259 people tested were positive for flu.

“Hand-washing, covering your cough and staying at home if you have flu-like symptoms are important,” says Infection Prevention Manager Gloria Powers, RN.

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. “These symptoms come on fairly abrupt whereas cold symptom onset is more gradual with sneezing, stuffy nose and sore throat,” Powers said. 

Most flu sufferers can recover from home with plenty of rest and fluids, but there are times when a trip to the doctor’s office, urgent care or emergency department are warranted. Powers said that the CDC offers guidelines for when to go to the emergency department. They are:

In children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

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