The flu season in the United States has begun and about half of the country is experiencing high levels of flu activity, according to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu is also widespread in Orange County according to some health providers.

Cindy Toler, an LVN at Gulf Coast Health Center in Orange, said the flu season has been bad. “It’s worse than last year. People have gotten the flu shot and they’re still getting it (the flu),” she said.
Flu shots protect against Strains A and B of influenza. Toler explained vaccine manufacturers cover for last year’s strand, but not this year’s.
“Last week, we had eight patients with symptoms. Pedis (children) are particularly susceptible,” Toler said.

Some of the flu symptoms include achiness, vomiting, nausea, fever and fatigue. Gulf Coast has been treating patients with Tamiflu.

Toler recommended frequently washing your hands and staying away from people who are ill as a precaution to getting the flu.
On the other side of the county at the Mauriceville Medical Clinic, Office Manager Penny Mullins said they saw several patients the week before Christmas who tested positive for the flu, but things have since tapered off. “Last year was not as bad as this year,” she said. Though Mullins doesn’t have the exact figures, she said she is almost positive some patients received a flu shot and still got the flu. Mullins’ clinic is receiving patients who have body aches, fever and coughing. They’ve also been seeing many who have a respiatory illness.

Patients are tested for Influenza A and B by using a nasal swab and treated with Tamiflu. 

Mullins also recommends the same precautions of staying away from sick people and washing your hands.

Reports of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths are elevated, according to the CDC website. “Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity,” it stated. Though this year’s vaccine may not protect against all strains of the flu, the CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

“There are documented benefits from flu vaccination, including reductions in illnesses, related doctors’ visits and missed work or school. Vaccination also prevents flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. While most of the viruses spreading this season are different from what is in the vaccine, vaccination can still provide protection and might reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death,” it read. “If you have not been vaccinated yet this season, get your flu vaccine now.”