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Local News

Spectrum Health Pennock gives precautions to take with flu, how and when to seek care

 Spectrum Health Pennock has recently seen a marked increase in the number of people coming to the emergency department with flu and flu-like symptoms. In response, they are advising stepping up precautions to prevent spreading the virus to others.

 

Influenza is a respiratory illness that is especially harmful to children, people over 65, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions.

Those conditions include asthma, COPD, CHF, severe kidney disease, diabetes, cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis, sickle cell disease, seizure disorder, dementia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries or morbid obesity.

 

Common flu symptoms include fever and chills, intense body aches, marked fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat and runny nose. Vomiting and diarrhea are not usual symptoms for adults and occur in less than 25 percent of children with influenza. Symptoms may be more subtle in the advanced aged.

 

Paul DeWitt, MD, chairperson of Spectrum Health Pennock Infection Control Committee recommends the following steps to avoid flu.

 

“First off, it is not too late to get the flu shot, which may help lessen the severity of the flu if you are to catch it, DeWitt said. “Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, cover coughs and sneezes and if you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your symptoms are gone and you have stopped taking fever reducing medication.” 

 

“The virus is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. People may also become infected by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus then touching their mouth, nose or eyes,” DeWitt said.

 

“It is important if you do have symptoms of flu to stay home and rest, drink plenty of fluids and ease fever and body aches with fever-reducing medication.

“Medical treatment is not necessary in most cases; however, anyone experiencing difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest, dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting or symptoms that have improved, but return or worsen within a few days should seek emergency medical treatment,” he said.//

 

Those experiencing shortness of breath, numbness, facial or arm paralysis, slurred speech or other heart attack or stroke symptoms, call 9-1-1 for immediate medical care.

When feeling flu-like symptoms, extra precautions should be taken to stay away from children, people over 65 years of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions.

 

Treat the illness at home with over-the-counter fever and pain reducers, cough medicine and other products. Those in a high risk group or who cannot control symptoms should seek non-emergency care through one of the following:

*Primary care provider office

*Urgent care

*MedNow, Spectrum Health’s telemedicine option.

Simply download the free MedNow app or learn more at www.spectrumhealth.org/mednow.

 

Also, Spectrum Health Pennock reminds the community that those with symptoms of influenza should postpone visiting patients in the hospital until they are well. They also encourage those with children not to bring them to the hospital unless they need medical attention. 

 

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