Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Flu season has arrived a bit later than expected in Kansas and state officials said the virus is on the rise.
"Influenza is coming later this year than it's ever come in my memory, mid-March is just crazy," said Dr. Kevin Hoppock, family physician.
Dr. Hoppock usually sees influenza patients between December and February, but not this year.
Officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment monitor the number of influenza-like cases in the state. They said influenza activity has been steadily increasing over the last several weeks.
"Influenza can come virtually any time. It just depends on where it starts. I think unseasonably warm temperatures probably are part of the reason why it's a little later," said Dr. Hoppock.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified Kansas and three bordering states as having a widespread outbreak of influenza. Half of the regions in those states have influenza-like illness cases.
"Influenza vaccination is effective for reducing the chances of getting sick and spreading influenza to others. Additional ways to avoid spreading influenza include covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, and staying home when sick," said Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.
Symptoms of the flu may include fevers of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, a runny nose, and a dry cough.
"If you have the high fevers, greater than 101, severe cough, and feel like you're extremely run down, those are signs of influenza," said Dr. Hoppock. "You should go ahead and seek [professional] care, within the first one to two days of the onset of those symptoms."