Onondaga County reports more than 1200 peple have confirmed flu cases so far this flu season. That includes 270 cases the week ending January 28th.
County Medical Director Dr. Quoc Nguyen relies on information provided by the State Health Department, which confirms cases. He says the number of patients experiencing respiratory issues due to flu complications isn’t as high as in other parts of the state.
“I think our ERs have been busy but not overwhelmed. The group that has been most affected by hospitalization has been the elderly folks. The largest group is 65-and-older; the second largest group is 54-64.”
He explains that while most people contagious with the flu can stay at home, others may need to be triaged.
“(if) you have a difficult time breathing and you asthma or you are pregnant, or you are very young, less the 2 years of age, or you have a compromised state, like treatment for cancer, HIV/AIDS, certain people with severe symptoms should be seen and should be evaluated.”
Governor Cuomo recently issued an Executive Order to allow pharmacists to give flu shots to kids age 2 and up.
“99% of kids get it in their arms; there are a few kids age 3 that might get it in the thigh muscle,” says Shannon Miller, Kinney Drugs Manager of Pharmacy Services.
She says people are taking a preventative approach and because of that, pharmacists are busier giving flu shots this year. She says families exposed to the flu can also get some treatment as prevention.
“You can get Tamiflu prophylactically so that you hopefully don’t get the flu, if you know that you’ve been exposed. We do see that a lot in families. If one child or one parent gets the flu, then the rest of the family gets prophylactic Tamiflu.”
She says the H-3 N-2 strain of the flu is also making it a very busy flu season and all the more reason to get a flu shot.