Flu cases at Decatur ER lower than 2014 - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Flu cases at Decatur ER lower than 2014

By getting immunized, you are protecting others. That includes people who can't get the vaccine because they are allergic to it.  (Source: WAFF) By getting immunized, you are protecting others. That includes people who can't get the vaccine because they are allergic to it.  (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Influenza can be a killer, but it is an illness that can be prevented - which is why doctors say it is so important for you to get a shot.

At the time of our visit, the emergency room at Decatur Morgan Hospital was not very busy. But Physician's Assistant and Director of E.R. Clinical Education, Wes Johnson says last year, the ER at Decatur Morgan Hospital was jumping.   

"Last year there was a lot of flu," he said. "A lot of flu came in the E.R.; multiple patients. A few were hospitalized with it. This year, we are hoping to not see that quite as much. We're hoping to see everybody get vaccinated this year."

He says even with milder cases, you can plan on a week recuperating.

"The flu is pretty rough. Even if you come in to get treated, with the Tamiflu, within the first 48 hours, that's not a treatment. All the Tamiflu will do is shorten your symptoms and make it a little bit less severe. But it's not going to take the flu away from you," said Johnson.

He says by getting immunized, you are protecting others. That includes people who can't get the vaccine because they are allergic to it.  

Johnson says when it comes to flu and the spread of this disease, there's a lesson here for parents.   

"Any child under 6 months, their immune system can't support the flu vaccine. If you get your own flu vaccine, you can prevent them from getting the flu, which is a huge help to the community, everybody around you - and it prevents us getting flooded with a lot of sick people here in the emergency department," said Johnson.

He says one case this year was frightening.    

"A very sick pediatric child, who did come in with the flu... had to be transferred to a more acute facility that takes care of pediatric patients. Obviously if there are other children around him that are not vaccinated, he could easily spread this. So we would encourage all parents, make sure that you are washing your hands frequently, cough not into your hand but into your shoulder or elbow," he said.

Check with your local health department about flu shot clinics. 

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