Wood County Health District

Flu season packs a punch with a feverish pitch

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This season’s flu strain is packing a punch and is showing no sign of giving up anytime soon. Though no “outbreaks” have been reported yet in Wood County, the flu has many local residents coughing, with fevers and headaches. On top of that, the H3N2 strain that is hitting throughout the U.S. also brings with it vomiting and diarrhea. “It’s a bad flu season, said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator with the Wood County Health District. Part of the reason is that the H2N3 strain blanketing the country is resistant to the immunizations that many Americans got to ward off the flu. “The vaccine is a little less effective against that strain,” Aspacher said. Doctors’ offices and hospitals are required to report flu cases to the health district. As of last week, 38 Wood County residents had been hospitalized due to the flu. Public health officials realize there are many more local residents suffering from the flu who tough it out and do not seek medical care. No deaths have been reported in Wood County, though Lucas County has seen one child and three adults die from the flu this season. Those most susceptible to the H3N2 flu strain are people with weakened immune systems, the elderly and children. Some Toledo area emergency rooms are struggling to handle all the flu cases flooding through their doors. Some hospitals have asked that flu sufferers seek care at other sites like urgent care centers, to relieve the demands on emergency rooms. Wood County Hospital Emergency Department is handling the increased patient load so far. “We are getting several flu cases,” said emergency department nursing supervisor Renee Baker. “They are right on track with other years.” The symptoms being seen at the Wood County ER include respiratory issues and “a lot of nausea,” she said. “So far we’ve been able to handle it. We haven’t had to divert anyone,” Baker said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found widespread influenza in all…

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