Tomah Health has its first reportable case of influenza this year. Hospital Infection Prevention Practitioner & Registered Nurse Candi Newlun, RN, BSN, said a patient was hospitalized for Influenza Type A recently. “A reportable case is mandated by the State of Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services who require us to report hospitalizations associated with Influenza A that are greater than 24 hours,” said Newlun.
She said the hospital has been seeing cases of influenza since the beginning of November. “The flu cases are starting to rise. We started seeing them in November which is later than last year when we saw cases in September.”
Newlun said most people who have the flu are infected with the Influenza Type A virus which includes fever and chills, headache and muscle aches, feeling tired and weak, sneezing, and stuffy or runny nose, sore throat and cough. “One of the biggest ways to prevent influenza is to wash your hands, beside breathing in the virus from an ill person,” Newlun said. “The flu virus can be picked up from surfaces and if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes, you can pick up that virus and become ill.”
Newlun said Tomah Health has also seen an increase in other respiratory viruses like RSV and Rhinovirus/Enterovirus within the community. She also said there has been a rise in COVID cases. “COVID is not going away, we are going to continue to see it every year.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get vaccinated against flu each year. “It’s really important for people to understand what their options are and how our vaccines work. If you are very young or immunocompromised, or above the age of 65 it is always recommended that you think about getting a flu vaccine or COVID vaccine to protect you against those viruses and give your body the best chance of not getting severely ill.”
Newlun said the holidays are a prime time to spread viruses. “You gather with a bunch of people in a poorly ventilated area and your risk of becoming ill increases so if you are feeling symptomatic, either stay home if you’re ill or if you have to be around people wear a mask to be kind and not spread the virus to others,” said Newlun. She also said it is important to get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods this time of year.