Westfield State urging students to take precautions to curb spre - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Westfield State urging students to take precautions to curb spreading the flu

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Flu cases continue to climb across western Massachusetts.

The season has been long and deadly.

It's even possible you could get the flu more than once in one season .

How bad is the flu this season?  The CDC said that this is the worst year of the flu in our country since the outbreak of swine flu in 2009.

"This seems to be a longer flu season." said Dr. Neil Nordstrom, DNP at Pediatric Services of Springfield.

Nordstrom, a family nurse practitioner, is seeing more and more cases of flu among children this season.

"Kids are more sick this year than in years past," Nordstrom added.

According to data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the number of flu cases so far this season has tripled from a year ago.

Also, if getting the flu once isn't bad enough, it's possible to get the flu a second time.

"The body gets infected by the influenza virus and then builds a defense against that virus, but the virus rapidly changes its appearance and again, the body has a hard time fighting off that second virus because it doesn't have a defense against it," Nordstrom explained.

Precautions are in place from hospitals to colleges campuses. 

Westfield State University is among those schools.

"The past two weeks, as of yesterday, we've had 247 visits.  Of the 247 visits, 11 had influenza-like illnesses," said Patricia Berube.

Berube is director of health services at Westfield State University.

"An influenza-like illness is a fever of 100 degrees or higher - sore throat and a cough, ruling out strep, mono, or other conditions," Berube added.

If a student has a flu-like illness, they are asked to go home if they're expected to be sick for a week or if that's not possible, to isolate themselves.

Doctors remind anyone who has not gotten a flu shot that it is not too late.  Also, they said to keep up your immune system, get plenty of rest, eat well, and wash your hands frequently.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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