The flu is being reported in the Snoqualmie Valley. A medical professional at Meadowbrook Urgent Care in North Bend stated he had three positive flu cases last week, as well as others suspected but not tested, as they were well into the course of the flu. In addition, pharmacists at the North Bend Bartell Drugs also say they dispensed lots of Tami-flu (anit-viral flu medication) over the past couple of weeks. King County Health is also warning that during the 2013-14 flu season, young adults are more likely to get severe influenza. The flu is here – cover those coughs and wash those hands, Snoqualmie Valley!
As Winter Break comes to an end in the Snoqualmie Valley and kids head back to the land of “germ sharing” at school, the Washington State Department of Health announced that the flu is now considered widespread across Washington.
Widespread means more than 50% of a state’s geographic regions (like counties) are reporting flu activity. Cases in Washington are considered to be the low-end of widespread.
According to weekly reporting, for the week ending December 28th, over 400 people in Washington were tested for the flu, with 20% testing positive. In total, over 1,400 people have been tested for the flu since November 24, 2013, with 232 testing positive.
The Center for Disease Control considers this flu season to be typical, with its spread starting in winter and peaking in January and February.
What has been atypical this season is the amount of cases of the H1N1 flu strain, also referred to as the swine flu, which caused a pandemic in 2009. In Washington, nearly 80% of all reported positive flu cases thus far have been H1N1.
Doctors in Oregon confirmed this week that a 5-year boy died shortly after Christmas from the H1N1 virus. The child, along with his siblings, all had flu shots in November, but he still contracted the flu.
According to a Fox News 12 story, because the boy had a flu vaccination, some diagnosis confusion may have occurred. His mother wants to make other parents aware of her son’s story – to let people know children who have had flu shot can still contract it – as well as the importance of anti-viral medicines if the flu is suspected.
The H1N1 strain IS covered by this year’s flu shot. During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, it was not. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all people over 6 months of age be vaccinated against the flu – and say it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Snoqualmie Valley medical clinics and drug stores still have vaccines available.
Some local flu shot options:
- Bartell Drugs – 248 Bendigo Boulevard South, North Bend, (425) 888-1672; www.bartelldrugs.com/store/north-bend
- Meadowbrook Urgent Care – 209 Main Ave South, North Bend, (425) 831-0777; www.meadowbrookurgentcare.com
- QFC Pharmacy – 439 E 2nd St, North Bend, (425) 888-2357
- Safeway Pharmacy – 460 SW Mt Si Blvd, North Bend, (425) 831-2126
- Snoqualmie Ridge Medical Clinic – 35020 SE Kinsey Street, 425-396-7682; www.snoqualmiehospital.org/services/clinics
- Snoqualmie Valley Hospital – 9575 Ethan Wade Way SE, Snoqualmie; www.snoqualmievalleyhospital.org
In its latest available online flu stats report (week ending December 21st), King County Public Health saw a notable flu increase, with over 50 new cases reported along with the first flu-related death. They say the stats are about equal to last year’s flu season.
According to the Washington State Influenza update, “five laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated deaths have been reported to the department this flu season.” All were over the age of 50.
Symptoms of the flu include a fever about 100 degrees, headache, cough, sore throat, running nose and fatigue. Anti-viral medications are available by prescription to help lessen severe flu symptoms and shorten illness by 1-2 days.
For more info on the 2012-13 flu season, flu shots and anti-viral medications visit the Center for Disease Control website.