In need of chicken soup: flu season hitting hard
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Health officials are saying the 2012-13 cold and flu season arrived early and is more severe. From Oct. 1 through Jan. 4, Wisconsin reported more than 2,800 confirmed cases of influenza, with 760-plus of them requiring hospitalization. Terry Mayer photo.
Dr. Wayne Peterson has seen more than his share of sore throats, runny noses and fevers in 30 years as a physician. And don’t forget the muscle aches, sneezing and coughing.
Peterson said the 2012-’13 cold and flu season arrived early and is packing plenty of wallop, regardless of which symptoms people are suffering.
(Read all of this week's stories from Walworth County Sunday HERE. )
“We’ve got three doctors seeing patients, probably between 80 and 100 daily,” said Peterson, who’s worked at Aurora Health Care’s walk-in clinic location in Lake Geneva for four years. “We’ve seen dozens of cases … people with fevers of 102 to 104 degrees, severe joint pain, headaches, nasal congestion. We’ve got a rapid test kit that will get us results in 15 minutes, and it will determine if they’ve got influenza A or influenza B.”
Not to downplay those fighting off the common cold, but it’s the nasty flu virus that health care professionals across Wisconsin are most worried about. And with good reason.
Pat Grove, public health officer in Walworth County, said the latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services surveillance system aren’t good.
From Oct. 1 through Jan. 4, the state reported more than 2,800 confirmed cases of influenza, with 760-plus of them requiring hospitalization. There were fewer than 400 hospitalizations last year altogether.
“I do believe we’re doing a much better job with the recording system and the state’s surveillance system,” Grove said. “In Walworth County, we had 28 reported hospitalizations of people who definitely were diagnosed with influenza, and we’ve had outbreaks in three nursing homes, with 52 cases overall.
“Even though nursing home employees and residents should be getting immunized, we’re really concerned about these populations because we’re still treating many of their patients. That’s because even if they’ve received their flu shots, family members and visitors may not have.”
The unpredictability of the severity and timing of the flu season always makes it tough. It can start in October and linger as late as May, but typically it starts in late November and runs into March, usually hitting its peak in January and February.
Read the complete story--and get a recipe for homemade chicken soup--in the Jan. 13 print or e-edition of Walworth County Sunday HERE.