Archive | January 25, 2018

Flu Season Update

We continue to have a higher than average flu season – and there’s no sign that it’s letting up.

In December 2017, Lexington Medical Center’s Emergency department and five Urgent Care centers in Lexington County diagnosed 556 cases of the flu. From January 1 to 18, hospital clinicians diagnosed 1079 cases – exceeding the total for December within just the first half of January.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the prominent strain is H3N2, which clinicians call one of the more severe strains of the flu. The biggest uptick in cases seemed to be during the second week of January.

Health experts emphasize that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. While there has been some concern that the vaccine is not effective this year, this year’s flu shot contains protection for a strain similar to H3N2. In fact, clinicians estimate the vaccine is about 35% effective, which is higher than previously thought. And it’s still more effective than not getting the vaccine.

Clinicians also point out that rapid flu swab tests are not 100% accurate. It’s possible to receive a false negative. So, they advise treating your illness like the flu even with a negative flu test. That’s especially true for the elderly, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, or who have chronic respiratory problems.

To prevent spreading the flu:
~Wash your hands.
~Don’t touch your face, nose, mouth or eyes.
~Stay home if you’re sick.
~Wipe down surfaces including countertops and door knobs.

Throughout the year, Lexington Medical Center asks that people who are not feeling well do not visit the hospital. If a patient comes to our Emergency department, Urgent Care facilities or physician practices with flu-like symptoms, we ask them to wear a mask. We also have hand sanitizer throughout our offices.