Flu cases increasing in Virginia, now widespread

WAVY-TV 10 File Photo

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that influenza cases are increasing in Virginia and is now widespread, according to Patient First.

There are several symptoms associated with the flu, including high fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

Officials say the flu can be contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing — or by touching something contaminated by the flu and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

According to doctors, you can prevent the spread of the flu by:

  • Washing your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, and wiping or blowing your nose.
  • Using paper tissues to wipe or blow your nose.
  • Cough into a tissue or inside your elbow instead of your hands
  • Staying in your home if you have flu symptoms until you are fever-free without medicine for 24 hours
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people
  • Staying away from crowds, if possible

Patient First says flu shots are still available with little or no wait.

Dr. Rebecca Franzi-Osborne, Medical Director for Patient First in Chesapeake, told WAVY.com that people don’t seem to be as sick as in some years past. Still, she said, the classic signs are there: Cough, high fever, nasal congestion, sore throat and body aches that hit all at once.

“They [patients] give me an exact time: At 12:30 today, it started, and they feel like they’ve been hit by a bus or a train,” Dr. Franzi-Osborne said.

Anti viral medication may help some people feel better a couple of days sooner, otherwise she recommends over the counter medicines like cough syrup, acetaminophen for fever and body aches, fluids and rest.

Wearing a mask and staying home until you are fever-free for 24 hours will protect others.

This year’s flu vaccine seems to be a pretty good match so far.  Dr. Franzi-Osborne says she has not seen anyone with the flu who got the shot.

It takes two weeks from the time you get it for it to be effective. However, Dr. Franzi-Osborne told 10 On Your Side it’s never too late. Even if you’ve already had the flu, she recommends you get the shot when you’re feeling better.

“We never know with each flu season is this the only strain we’re going to see or will there be another circulating later in the year? We do see flu here, sometimes into May.”