CDC Reporting Kentucky – Tennessee Region Among Hardest Hit in US with Flu this November
On Friday night, my daughter and I watched the new Enola Holmes movie (highly recommend) and ate DQ (also highly recommend). We went to bed without a care in the world. But then, around 2 a.m., I was awoken by a tiny, pitiful voice. "Mama, I don't feel good."
She wakes me up almost every night to let me know about something going on around the house, or about the nosey raccoons that she can see through the sliding glass door, or about a thought that popped into her mind, or to tell me about a dream. Seriously, almost every single night. So, I didn't think much about her not feeling well. But, when I felt her head and asked, "what hurts," it was then that she almost fell over. She said she was having a hard time standing because her body hurt. And the headache was unbearable. I immediately thought back to the text I had received the previous day about a classmate who missed school because she was diagnosed with the flu.
So, bright and early Saturday morning, I swallowed my disdain for the $75 urgent care co-pay (WHY DID YOU HAVE TO CLOSE, CVS MINUTECLINIC??) and took her to Deaconess Pediatric urgent care. They performed an RSV, COVID, Flu swab and sent us on our merry way. Within 15 minutes, we received a call confirming that she did indeed have Flu A and that her Tamiflu prescription would be arriving at Walmart shortly.
EVERYONE IN THE FREE WORLD IS SICK.
When I arrived at the Walmart pharmacy, I decided to go in because I wanted to get her some Theraflu anyway. I waited in a pretty long line. When I got to the window, I noticed they had one pharmacist and he was helping people at the counter. I kid you not, the man looked at me with sheer exhaustion in his eyes and said, "EVERYONE IN THE FREE WORLD IS SICK." I thanked him for his hard work and took meds home to my kiddo.
When I got home, my husband was complaining of the same symptoms. He can usually power through most illnesses but felt pretty confident that he had been hit by the flu bug too. So, his doctor called in a Tamiflu prescription as well.
She's still sick today and won't be attending school. When I contacted my bosses about having to leave early to be with her today, they told me to just stay home with her to avoid my possible contamination of the office. The incubation period of the flu is 1-4 days and you are contagious before you show symptoms. My boss Chad also told me that Flu is rampant in the Owensboro area. So, I was curious to see what the CDC had to say about it.
CDC's Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report for the Ohio River Valley
On the Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report (updated last Friday, Nov 4, 2022) the CDC said, "Influenza activity continues to increase. Regions 4 (Southeast) and 6 (South-Central) are reporting the highest levels of flu activity, followed by regions 3 (Mid-Atlantic) and 9 (south-central West Coast). Region 4 includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee."
As you can see, though KY is in Region 4, it's still only considered High, whereas TN is considered VERY High. Eek!
The Flu in 2022
The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 1,600,000 illnesses, 13,000 hospitalizations, and 730 deaths from flu. In fact the 2022 flu season has been the worst since 2009-2010 when there was a swine flu outbreak.
The flu is running so rampant that schools in both KY and IN are shut down this week. According to WFPL.org,
Several western Kentucky school systems – including McCracken, Crittenden and Ballard – are among the closures. McCracken is expected to resume session on Nov. 9, Crittenden on Nov. 8 and Ballard on Nov. 7. Other county school districts that have closed or moved to NTI due to illness during November include Clark, Fleming, Madison, Owen, Powell, Wayne and Wolfe. The Berea, Jackson, Paris and Williamstown school districts in central and eastern Kentucky have also closed due to illness.
And ABCnews.go reported that a school in Indiana shut its doors last Thursday and Friday as well for illness.
At Community Montessori in New Albany -- located on the border of Indiana and Kentucky -- 13 students are out with influenza, director Barbara Burke-Fonden told local ABC affiliate WHAS 11. What's more, half of all classes have up to 40% of students home sick with either flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and/or COVID-19.
Signs & Symptoms of the Flu
According to the CDC, the flu is usually pretty easily distinguishable from mild viruses or colds. The symptoms come on rapidly and are very intense. Patients usually complain of headache, extreme fatigue, cough, mucus drainage, muscle aches, and malaise, and stomach issues like upset vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children.
Why You Should See Your Doctor Right Away if You Think You Have the Flu
If you are quickly diagnosed with the flu, you lessen the severity and duration of the flu with medication.
TAMIFLU is a prescription medicine used to treat the flu (influenza) in people 2 weeks of age and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 2 days. TAMIFLU can also reduce the chance of getting the flu in people 1 year and older. -tamiflu.com
There are also complications that can occur - even in healthy adults. Patients have experienced pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, and sepsis. Those with pre-existing conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, and asthma could face complications.
Back in 2020 before COVID hit, I didn't feel well. Wasn't terrible but it wouldn't go away. So, after a couple of weeks, I went in and my doc did some blood work. Turns out I had BOTH types of flu and mono. He said I was in the healing phase so I didn't get Tamiflu. But a few days later, I developed a horrible hacking cough that wouldn't go away. I needed an antibiotic to help clear my lungs. The flu wasn't that bad but the bacterial infection I got, as a result, took me down. It happens to the best of us - stay hyper-vigilant if you get the flu.
How Long Are You Contagious?
The CDC says you can transmit the virus a day before you show symptoms and up to five days after symptoms appear. The doctor told us that my daughter could go back to school 24 hours after her fever subsided without the use of medication.
How Does the Virus Spread?
Remember when we had the whole mask uprising during COVID? Well, unfortunately, the flu is spread the same way - through droplets that fly thru the air when you cough or sneeze. You can also get it from touching contaminated surfaces.
How to Avoid the Flu
At this point, you are COVID warriors. You know the drill...
- Wash your hands.
- Avoid people.
- Use disinfecting wipes on surfaces.
- Avoid people.
- Wear a mask in public places.
- Avoid people.
- Keep your hands away from nose and mouth.
- Avoid people.
- Educate children on proper hygiene.
- Avoid people.
- Get a flu shot.
- Oh, and avoid people!
What To Do If You Get the Flu
- If you do get sick, please AVOID people so you aren't part of the problem! Parents, this means YOU. I know you want your sweet precious to go to school. I know you want them out of the house and out of your hair but if they are sick, KEEP 'EM KIDS HOME.
- Drink PLENTY of fluids. Fluids flush out the virus and dehydration is a common complication that can be deadly if untreated.
- See your doctor. You can start Tamiflu if it's caught early. Remember, that complications are real and if you find you aren't getting over your symptoms after a week, it's best to talk to your doc.
- Use OTC meds to control symptoms.
- Wear a mask if you have to be in the public.
- Support your immune system with a vitamin C and zinc supplement like Emergen-C
- Rest and watch plenty of TV. Okay, I made up the TV part but my daughter says it has helped her immensely.
What to Have on Hand BEFORE You Get the Flu
I hope everyone stays safe out there and if you feel sick, STAY HOME!