Cheyenne, Wyo. - Influenza is becoming a growing concern in Wyoming.
(Image Source: MGN)
Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list both Wyoming and Nebraska flu status as being WIDESPREAD. Colorado is still listed as only MODERATE.
But the Rocky Mountain region isn’t isolated. Most of the United States is listed as having WIDESPREAD flu, and the CDC says more than six percent of all people coming into clinics and ERs nationwide have the flu.
Back in Wyoming, there have been 235 flu cases reported in Laramie County, and 1,452 in the state.
At Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, they're seeing people daily for flu-like symptoms. They also say all their ER beds are full with people reporting multiple ailments, including the flu.
To make matters worse, we're only halfway through a flu season that the CDC says is one of the worst in years. Across the US, 37 child deaths linked to the flu have been reported and 11 states have been forced to close their schools in response. They also believe flu activity is likely to continue for several more weeks.
You can see more flu information on the CDC's website.
The CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months of age and older as flu viruses are likely to continue circulating for weeks
• While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common.
• Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
• CDC recommends use of injectable influenza vaccines (including inactivated influenza vaccines and recombinant influenza vaccines) during 2017-2018. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2017-2018.
• Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
• People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
• Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to them.
Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
• If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.
• Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
• Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high-risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
• Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
• Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.