Arkansas Department of Health reported this week flu cases are widespread and rising in the state.
Ed Barham, ADH spokesman, said he did not have specific numbers for Faulkner County, but the department is receiving many reports of flu infections and hospitalizations from all regions of the state.
Seven deaths reported in Arkansas this season have been flu related, according to the health department.
A Conway Regional Health System spokesman said the hospital has had more than 80 cases since last month.“Emergency departments across the state are seeing growing numbers; it’s affecting people of all ages,” said Amanda Irby, RN and director of Conway Regional Emergency Department.
Irby said the hospital’s emergency room has experienced an influx of people with flu symptoms.
Arkansas Department of Health is encouraging anyone over six months of age to get a flu vaccine.
“The vaccine keeps roughly 80 percent of recipients from getting the flu,” state epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow said in a release. “While it is completely expected to see some of the vaccinated people develop the disease, those people will often have milder symptoms and shorter duration of illness compared to those who are unvaccinated.”
Those most at risk for severe flu-related complications are pregnant women, children under five, people over 65, and people with chronic conditions like asthma, COPD, heart disease or weakened immune systems.
The health department recommends any of this at-risk population who develop flu-like systems should go to the doctor.
Symptoms are cough, high fever, headache and muscle aches. Children’s flu symptoms may also include vomiting or diarrhea.
The vaccine takes 10 days to two weeks to become effective, but it is not too late to be vaccinated, according to the ADH.
The vaccines are typically available at local health units, private practices, and pharmacies.
Tips from Susan Molsbee, infection preventionist at Conway Regional:
- Get vaccinated
- Wash hands frequently, for 15-20 seconds at a time
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the bend of your arm
- Do not touch the “T-zone,” your eyes, nose and mouth.