Positive influenza tests in Adams County

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OTHELLO — The Adams County Health Department announced that residents have been testing positive for Influenza A and B.

A nurse at the Adams County Health Department said that as of last week Thursday, the county has had 75 cases. The first case was Nov. 10.

“Adams County Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brzezny has issued the following alert to the Adams County Health care community and media: influenza activity has arrived in Adams County,” stated a press release from the Adams County Health Department on Monday, Dec. 9. “Be aware of increasing influenza and influenza like illness (ILI) which is now widespread in Washington state. All healthcare facilities should enforce their policies regarding healthcare worker’s influenza vaccinations and masking.”

Influenza B has been the primary type of illness found.

“Children have been particularly affected with some Adams County Schools reporting as high as 20 percent absenteeism at times in the past two to three weeks with parent reports of fever and chills, cough, muscle aches, and other symptoms common to the flu and flu-like illness,” the press release said. “Health care providers are encouraged to be vigilant about identifying cases early through testing and provide early antiviral therapy.”

The health department encourages those six months and older to get flu shots.

“Flu activity typically increases in the winter months when people spend more time indoors around each other,” the press release said. “People who haven’t been vaccinated against the flu still have time to get the vaccine before the season reaches its peak.”

Children eight and younger who have never had flu shots or have only had one flu shot should get two doses this year. People who are at increased risk, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, chronic lung disease, over 65 or pregnant mothers, should get the shot.

“Infants are at an increased risk for flu, caregivers who are sick should wear a mask when caring for an infant,” the press release said.

Hand washing is encouraged to prevent the spread of the illness. If someone is sick, they should stay home until 24 hours after the fever has subsided.

“People with the flu can make others sick one day before symptoms appear and up to five days after symptoms begin,” the press release stated. “Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and throw it away. It is very important to wash your hands often. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and warm water are not available. If you or a family member are sick with a flu–like sickness, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine), unless you need to leave to receive medical care. If your doctor prescribes antiviral medicine, finish the entire prescription.”

The Adams County Health Department offers flu vaccines.

“Flu vaccines are available at Adams County Health Department Clinics in Othello, at 425 E Main St.; Ste 700, on Monday afternoons, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, or in Ritzville at 108 W. Main St. on Wednesdays,” the press release said. “Shots may be available on other days by appointment.”

For more information, call the Othello office at 509-488-2031 or the Ritzville office at 509-659-3315.

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