Influenza and Its Effects On Our Community
It's no great secret that flu is spreading around our community. In fact Wyoming as a whole is ranked by the CDC as Widespread. That's at a state level. For what it's worth Converse County and greater Wyoming residents find themselves in good company as the majority of the continental U.S. as well finds itself under that designation.
"A lot of the spread of the flu comes down to neglecting what we call hygiene etiquette: coughing into your sleeve or elbow, using a tissue once then tossing versus say putting it in your pocket, and most importantly washing your hands," said Giselle Grimes, R.N., the infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hospital of Converse County.
With that designation of "Widespread" by the CDC for our state so too comes some restrictions at the hospital level namely in the way of restricted visits to patients being treated on the third floor. These are put in place to not only help keep a safe and healthy environment for patients receiving care on the third floor, which includes the labor and delivery unit; but also to help the community as a whole stay healthier as well. This means that visits to the third floor are restricted to healthy adults, i.e. those not exhibiting flu like symptoms: fever, cough, sinus infection, runny nose, or congestion. It as well restricts visitors to immediate family of the patient: spouses, adult children, parents, and siblings: children and teens on a case by case basis.
"We really need visitors to exercise good judgement in determining if they should visit a patient," Grimes mentioned further that also having visitors be aware of the possibility of becoming sick themselves by visiting a patient receiving care. "It goes both ways."
The visiting restrictions to the third floor will be reduced once the CDC sees that Wyoming is no longer classified as Widespread. Since this year of the flu is running on average later than recent years we shouldn't expect this to happen for a few weeks at least.
As we look at the greater community and the impact of influenza it's always good to understand just how quickly the flu virus can spread. And we can't negate how important it is to be proactive in your own care: eat a healthy diet, maintain an active lifestyle, get plenty of rest and most importantly if you feel sick take care of yourself and seek medical assistance. MHCC has two very important resources for the community: our Medical Office Building and the Urgent Care. Both of these facilities are staffed with knowledgeable and caring providers who can diagnose and treat influenza.
"And remember, it's not too late to get a flu shot this year," concluded Grimes. "You should still re-up in Fall, but flu shots are still available at our MOB or Urgent Care."
Flu Symptoms? What You Need To Know:
Unlike a cold, your typical flu symptoms come on suddenly.
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills.
- Sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Muscle or body aches.
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
What Steps Can You Take To Prevent The Spread of the Flu?
- Get A Flu Shot
- Use Good Hygiene Etiquette
- Seek Medical Care and Advisement
- Take Antiviral Medications If They Are Prescribed
- Stay Home and Recuperate