Created: 01/12/2014 11:29 AM WHEC.com
By: Erinn Cain/Messenger Post
The flu is on the rise in Ontario County, according to County Public Health Director Mary Beer.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase,” she said. “ … It’s very active right now.”
The flu season typically starts in the fall, with peaks in January and February, and subsides in the spring, Beer said. This season, she said, there was a confirmed case of the flu in Ontario County in early October.
Beer said the county public health department does not track the number of flu cases, but noted that Ontario County is seeing the H1N1 virus — the same virus that began in 2009.
Gloria Karr, Thompson Health’s director of infection control, said that from Dec. 1 through Jan. 9, Thompson had approximately 70 confirmed cases of the flu. She said Thompson began to see an increase the week of Dec. 30, and that both Thompson’s emergency department and urgent care center in Farmington have been kept busy.
Karr said it is too early to say how this flu season will compare to previous years, but that, “at this time, it does not seem more than our usual season.”
Currently, people in their mid-40s to mid-60s seem to be among the more seriously affected by the flu, Karr said. She said the severity of symptoms has varied, but that some individuals with the flu have had symptoms serious enough for them to be admitted as inpatients.
Beer urged people who are sick to stay home and avoid vulnerable populations, such as young children and the elderly.
She said that people who have not received the flu vaccination can still get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend yearly flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Other ways for people to protect themselves against the flu, Karr said, include washing their hands, avoiding sick individuals when possible, getting enough rest and eating well.