Flu cases on the rise in Arkansas - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Flu cases on the rise in Arkansas

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting the state's first flu death. Over the past few weeks, the number of flu cases has grown. The state's first flu death has brought attention to the importance of prevention.

Across the nation, the number of cases of influenza has grown, sending more people to the doctor's office. "We have seen elevated flu numbers in our community, particularly in Northeast Arkansas, over the past couple of weeks," says AHEC Assistant Professor of Medicine Doctor Shane Speights.

Fatigue, fever, body aches, just flat out miserable...all symptoms of the flu, which is making its presence known in Arkansas. According to the CDC, flu activity in Arkansas is listed at a moderate level. "The type of flu generally that we are seeing is a type-A influenza and really the H-3 is the subtype. We are seeing more of that in this area, as well as nationwide," says Speights, which he says is the typical seasonal flu strand.

"For a lot of middle-aged or adolescent individuals it may be just more of a cough, mild fever, just don't feel too good and kind of just shake it off.  Really your older patients and younger patients are going to have a harder time with it," he says.

So to keep the flu from putting you out of commission for days, it's important to wash your hands or keep hand sanitizer handy to fight germs. "Those viruses can stay alive on door knobs and counter tops for hours and somebody else can come along and pick up the virus and get infected," says Speights.

He adds, If you're sick, it's okay to miss class or work. It will help keep the flu from spreading. "We can expect them (flu numbers) to go up and down in the coming weeks. Again, this is kind of a later flu season that we are seeing now, but it doesn't seem to be as bad as previous years," says Speights.

Doctor Speights says even now it's important to get vaccinated. He adds, even if you still end up with the flu, it will often be a much milder case.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

 

 

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