Doctors urge vigilance while flu cases begin to peak - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Doctors urge vigilance while flu cases begin to peak

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Two six-year old girls may be the latest victim's of this year's historic flu epidemic.  The deaths were confirmed over the weekend - one in New Jersey and the other was in Norwalk, CT.

Locally, however, at least one pediatrician says we could be turning a corner.

We have checked in with doctors at Pediatric Services in East Longmeadow throughout this historic flu season.  

While the sheer number of flu patients continues to be unlike anything they've seen in some time, doctors said this flu season is starting to show signs of peaking.  

The CDC's recent report indicates we might finally be seeing the peak of this year's flu season.  

Dr. Adam Kasper of Pediatric Services in East Longmeadow said that their numbers reflect the same.

"It's slowing down a bit, but we are still seeing a good number of positive flu patients both 'A' and 'B', but predominantly 'A' over the last couple of weeks,  but it certainly, at least in our office, has slowed down a little bit from where it was a couple of weeks ago," Kasper said.

'A' is the dreaded H3N2.  Doctors told Western Mass News that they're still going through on average a box of rapid flu tests a day - that's 30 tests daily.  

The reason why: keeping vigilant about stopping the spread of the flu is critical.  

"The flu virus can live in respiratory droplets from someone's sneeze or cough even floating in the air for a few hours, especially if its cold," Kasper noted.

In fact, the CDC said that flu droplets are pretty hardy, lasting on:

  • Hard surfaces, table tops, door knobs, gas station pumps - 24 hours
  • Inside a tissue - 15 minutes
  • Airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough - Several hours

"You sometimes have to touch doorknobs and that's okay.  If you have to touch commonly used surfaces in public places, doctors offices, or school and you're unable to wash your hands, just make sure you're not touching your eyes, your mouth, your nose," Kasper said.

What kills flu virus?  Anything with:

  • Chlorine
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Most detergents
  • Iodine based antiseptics 
  • Anything with alcohol

The CDC also said that whether it's peaking or not, flu season is still expected to last several more weeks.

The CDC also continues to beat the same drum - that it's not too late to get that flu shot.  

Doctors said that while it may be peaking, this flu season could last until May.

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

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