Flu makes first appearance at Ho-Chunk clinic

By Ken Luchterhand

It’s that time of year – the sniffles and coughs are upon us, including the flu season.

Colds and flu usually appear this time of year, when people spend a majority of the time indoors, where people can spread whatever illness is going around.

More than 270 influenza-related hospitalizations in the state this week.  Both influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) made a large upswing in the past week.
The flu also has arrived at one Ho-Chunk health Care Clinic.

“We’ve had one confirmed case of flu at the Black River Falls clinic,” said Dr. Amy DeLong, MD, physician at the House of Wellness in Baraboo.

To avoid getting any illness, DeLong recommends frequent hand washing and getting the flu shot. If you have an illness, she recommends covering any cough or sneeze with the inside of the person’s elbow.

Wisconsin, as a whole, is experiencing moderate influenza-like illness activity, according to statistics available to DeLong.  Many states are now experiencing high levels, including some of the states neighboring Wisconsin.

In the state, about 20 percent of people tested for influenza are coming back positive.  Of the tested patients, more than 90 percent are Influenza A strains.

About 10 percent of people tested for RSV are coming back positive.

DeLong recommends that everyone get a flu shot, not only to protect themselves, but also to protect the people who may come into contact with an ill person.

“The vaccination rate for influenza is slightly below this same time last year and substantially below the goal of 70 percent, although our health department is doing amazing giving the flu shots. We have had to order additional doses twice already.”

DeLong does not recommend seeing the doctor immediately if someone contracts a virus.

“Really, they should not be in waiting rooms or in public and treated at home if possible, DeLong said. “The antivirals (like Tamiflu) really do not work well, so use them seldom.”

Keep up the great work recommending flu vaccination, especially to those at high risk, use good hand hygiene and practice good respiratory etiquette.  If you have a fever/chills/cough/headache, remember to stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and avoid contact with very young and very old community members.
The CDC is DeLong’s favorite website for up to date information on health topics. www.cdc.gov.