MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – New data shows the number of people with the flu in Chautauqua County has double in the past week, according to the Chautauqua County Department of Health.
The health department said flu case numbers are increasing statewide, including cases that leave people hospitalized.
The following information is provided by Chautauqua County:
What is the flu? The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
•runny or stuffy nose
• diarrhea and vomiting (sometimes)
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician’s assistant, etc.).
Certain people, including young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. If you are in a high risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor. Remind them about your high risk status for flu.
For more information about seasonal influenza visit the New York State Department of Health’s webpage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage or the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ webpage.
Do I need to go the emergency room if I am only a little sick? No. Most cases of the flu can be successfully treated at home. If you have flu symptoms and are very sick or worried about your illness, CCDHHS urges you to contact your health care provider. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. If you go to the emergency room and you are not sick with the flu, you may catch it from people who do have it.
What are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness?
•Fast breathing or trouble breathing
•Bluish skin color
•Not drinking enough fluids
•Not waking up or not interacting
•Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
•Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
•Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
•Being unable to eat
•Has trouble breathing
•Has no tears when crying
•Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
•Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
•Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
•Severe or persistent vomiting
•Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
What can I do if I think I have the flu and don’t have any emergency warning signs?
Stay at home and rest other than to seek medical attention. Avoid close contact with well people in your house so you do not make them sick. Drink plenty of liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration) and treat fever and other symptoms with over-the-counter medication. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from spreading influenza. If you must leave home, wear a face mask if you have one, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your arm. Wash your hands often to avoid transmitting the virus to others.
Your doctor may prescribe influenza antiviral drugs (e.g., Tamiflu®). Antivirals are not a substitute for influenza vaccine. Due to the current elevated influenza activity, patients may have difficulty locating antiviral drugs and might have to contact more than one pharmacy in order to fill their prescriptions.
To be effective at treating and reducing the duration of influenza symptoms, antiviral treatment should be initiated within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. The CDC recommends initiation of antiviral treatment as early as possible (within the first 2 days of symptom onset), especially for those at high risk for complications, including children less than 2 years of age and individuals over 65 years. Antiviral therapies may reduce the severity of illness, decrease the risk of complications (including hospitalization) and shorten the duration of illness.
How is the Flu Spread?
Flu is spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. The typical incubation period for flu is from 1 – 4 days (average: 2 days). Adults can be infectious from one day before onset of symptoms to 5–7 days after the onset of illness. Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks.