Flu cases could go up in Hampton Roads with schools back open after snow

Flu numbers have leveled off a bit in the Hampton Roads area over the last week, though it's still widespread.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — You may have cursed the snow that kept your kids home for the better part of two weeks, but it may have done us all some good.

The latest report from the Virginia Department of Health shows flu numbers leveled off a bit in the Hampton Roads area over the last week.

It’s still widespread though. Patient First in Chesapeake reports seeing a 25 percent increase in flu patients over the same time last year.

“Note to parents: if your children have flu-like symptoms or fever, stay home, see their doctors right away,” said Victor Leite, a physician’s assistant who spoke to WAVY.com.

Leite said that while no one wants to miss more time from work or school, this is a public health issue.

“That’s usually where we see the most of our patients coming in from — schools.”

Now that school is back in full swing he’s prepared to possibly see even more flu cases walk through the door.

“It could get worse, so we want to limit the exposure to others.”

Already this season, the flu has killed 30 children across the United States compared to just five last year at this time.

New evidence shows the virus may be spread not just by coughing and sneezing, but just breathing.

Experts also say the flu shot is only about 30 percent effective this year and remind everyone to cover their coughs and sneezes and wash their hands with soap or sanitizer frequently.