Doctor says end of season should be in sight

By: Jacob Larsen
Posted: Feb 08, 2018 06:37 PM PST
Updated: Feb 08, 2018 06:37 PM PST

BEND, Ore. – Flu season is still in full swing, but in Deschutes County, flu numbers are dropping just a bit.

According to Deschutes County Health Services, this past week, there has been a slight 2 percent drop in the amount of people testing positive for flu, from 20 percent to 18 percent.

Despite that, county health officials said they are still seeing high levels of emergency room visits for the flu.

Last week, 81 patients visited the ER with flu-like symptoms in Deschutes County.

Dr. Dausen Harker, with Summit Medical Group Oregon-Bend Memorial Clinic, said Thursday that this flu season has been more severe then in recent years.

Harker is hopeful that the flu season is getting close to being over but said it still could last for a while longer.

“It depends, year to year,” he said. “Some years, we see it where it is really kind of a short (season). Sometimes it lingers. It’s probably a couple of months, which seems kind of consistent with what we have seen this year.”

Harker still recommends getting the flu shot, even as we get closer to the end of flu season.

According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority, they estimate 41 percent of people got a flu shot in Jefferson County, 51 percent of residents got the flu shot in Crook County and 55 percent were vaccinated in Deschutes County.

In Central Oregon, there are two strains of the flu that people have tested positive for: influenza A and influenza B.

Harker said while it is rare, it is unlikely you would get the flu twice in one season.

“Possible, not as likely. Usually, you do get exposed to it. You get it, you do get it once and that’s kind of, you’re done for the year,” Harker said.

So while it may be extremely unlikely, it is possible you could get the flu twice.

Harker said in order to avoid the flu, you should get a flu shot, wash your hands and stay away from people who have the flu.

He also said the flu season usually lasts about a couple of months, so the end should be in sight.

See original article here.

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