Flu season not too bad in Carbon this year, Health Department says
It's a tidbit of news that many residents in Carbon County would be happy to hear about.
While other areas in the state may be affected by influenza, Carbon County has not reported any flu activity above normal ranges for the flu season, according to Terrie Wright, a public information officer with the Southeastern Utah Health Department.
"The flu season can vary, but it's not anything above normal at this time," Wright said of flu activity.
In past years, Carbon County has not been hit as hard with the flu as in other areas of the state, including along the Wasatch Front. Just last week, the Salt Lake County Health Department confirmed that two county residents between the ages of 35 and 64 had died due to influenza.
The H1N1 strain, also known as the swine flu, become known worldwide in 2009 due to the virus acting much differently than other strains of flu. This particular strain has been blamed for several recent deaths in Texas.
With a flu season that lasts from November through April, Wright said that so far no one in Carbon County has been hospitalized with the flu. An epidemiologist who works at the Health Department is in regular contact with doctors in Carbon County and throughout the southeastern part of the state helping to provide the department with up-to-date information about what illnesses may be going around, according to Wright.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 36,000 people die from the flu annually. Symptoms of the flu can include a fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headaches and others.
While Carbon County has not been hit too hard by the flu, Wright said that a stomach virus and an upper respiratory virus make its way around the area.
Those people who think they may have the flu typically need to have a swab performed by their personal doctor or at a hospital to have it analyzed to see if it tests positive for the influenza virus. Those who do test positive for the flu are typically given an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu and told to go home and rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Anyone who may have the flu should stay home to not spread the virus, drink plenty of fluids and rest. If symptoms persist or worsen, it would be the time to contact your personal doctor, Wright said.
The Southeastern Utah Department of Health is still offering flu shots for residents. The department is running a program that allows for a person to get a free flu shot if they bring in two cans of food. The shots are provided from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and will continue on each week until the flu shot vaccine supply runs out.
For more information on influenza, check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at CDC.gov.