The number of flu cases in Greene County continues to climb. According to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, there were 364 lab-confirmed reports of flu the week of December 31.
Much of the time, the flu requires only a visit or a virtual visit to a primary care doctor or other clinic. Telemedicine is an option that allows a patient to stay home and be seen by a doctor via an electronic device such as a cell phone or laptop. Other options include a visit to a primary care doctor, urgent care, a convenient care clinic or a retail clinic.
There are times, however, when a visit to the emergency room is warranted.
According to the health department signs to watch for in children include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Fever with a rash
- Not waking up or interacting
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and a worse cough
In infants symptoms that require emergency care also include being unable to eat, no tears when crying and significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
In adults, ER visits are needed when:
- A person has difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness or confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
The health department says it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. Even if it proves to be less effective this year, a vaccine can lead to less severe illness if you do get the flu.
According to the health department, in addition to getting vaccinated, you can also help prevent the spread of many viruses by practicing proven disease prevention methods. This includes:
- Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and then wash your hands with soap as soon as you are able.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs are spread.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.