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Carroll Hospital Center Sees Spike in Flu Cases

Social events over the holidays could be one reason the contagious virus spread quickly in December, according to a Carroll Hospital Center representative.

Carroll Hospital Center is seeing more flu cases this year than it did last year at this time, consistent with regional trends, according to a hospital representative.

"We're seeing more in the last few weeks than we saw at this time last year," said Elizabeth Fuss, RN and Infection Control/Associate Health manager at Carroll Hospital Center.

Fuss said that she expects one reason there is a higher incidence of the Influenza virus is that it hit the community prior to the holidays.

"It hit at a time when people generally get together and are more social," Fuss said. "No one wants to say they don't feel well enough to go to a special family event over the holidays--and that's how the flu spreads."

Fuss said that health officials would prefer that the flu doesn't appear until after the holidays. She said last year the flu hit much later, in March.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that can infect the nose, throat and lungs. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a vaccine, the CDC website reports. Find out where to get the flu vaccine in Carroll County.

"In terms of prevention, people should not be around other people when they are coughing and sneezing, especially if they have a high fever," Fuss said.

In addition to good hand hygiene and keeping hands away from the face area and off food, Fuss said the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine. But she warns that it takes about two weeks for the body to get the full immunity from the vaccine, so she urges people to get it as soon as possible.

Fuss recommends that people suffering from flu-like symptoms reach out to their family physician before going to the emergency room. She said for those without a family phyisican, they may want to consider visiting an urgent care center instead of the emergency room.

"Unfortunately there isn't a lot we can do for the flu," Fuss said. "The vast majority of patients we're seeing [for the flu] are being seen in the ER and are not being admitted, but we have admitted more than we did at this time last year."

Fuss advised people to try to keep their immune systems strong -- get enough sleep, eat well, drink lots of fluid and manage stress.

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Buck Harmon January 08, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Sitting in the waiting room for 3 hours while waiting to be seen is very unhealthy as well...as was the case last evening..
kem mason January 09, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Well buck. If people didn't go to the ER. For every little thing then the wait wouldnt be that long the ER is not for people who don't have ins people go there because of no ins and they can't be refused so we wait and wait and then pay there bill with taxes Hope your better only speaking the truth
Buck Harmon January 09, 2013 at 12:57 AM
Actually kem..I was speaking for an 87 year old relative that had a severe condition not related to the flu...I was also wrong with the wait time...she sat in the germ incubator of a waiting room for 4 hours, not 3...there were people with flu symptoms laying on the floor, and the place was a mess...she arrived at the hospital at 4:00, was seen at 8:00 PM and then had to wait until 2:00AM to be placed in a room....not a healthy environment any way you look at it....and she has great insurance as well.
kem mason January 09, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Not speaking of your friend. Just in general sorry for the mis understanding hope your friend is well
Ed January 09, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Another problem is that, based on a radio report on (I think) WBAL a few days ago, the strain of flu that most are suffering from is not one of the strains covered by the flu vaccine.

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