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Instances of flu on the rise; doctors urge flu vaccination

By Sam Penrod | Posted - Jan 3rd, 2013 @ 7:43pm

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OREM — Hospitals along the Wasatch Front are reporting a spike in the number of people who are being hospitalized for the flu. One death in Utah County is even being blamed on the flu.

Utah is on the CDC's list of states where the flue is considered "widespread" among adults and children alike. The CDC is warning the elderly and parents of young parents to take caution, especially in public.

Dr. Lynsey Drew said the waiting room is full in her family practice with patients who have flu like symptoms.

"The influenza is on the rise, at least the last three weeks," Drew said. " We have coughs, sore throats, a lot of people coming in with fever and chills, body aches."

She said there is a common denominator in patients being diagnosed with influenza A or B.

"Most of them have not had their flu shot this time around anyway," Lynsey said. "They thought they were safe, but we always recommend people to get their flu shots every year it's very important to do that and it's not too late to get a flu shot now if you haven't had one already."

The flu usually takes 7 to10 days to run its course, but healthy people will see improvement after four to five days.

"Symptoms will usually start a couple of days after you have been infected," Drew said. "So if this feels a little different than a normal cold for you, then it is worthwhile for you to go see your doctor because you can start a medication called Tamiflu if you have only had symptoms for a couple of days and that can help."

Patients under age 4 and older than 65 infected with the flu can face serious complications.

"We are seeing an increase in patients who are requiring a stay in the hospital for the flu," said Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Spokesperson Janet Frank.

Patients who have not yet had their flu shot can still get one. Frequently washing your hands can also reduce the risk of getting the flu.


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