Donaldsonville falls victim to flu

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR

The country has seen one of its worst flu seasons ever in the month of December and without a doubt, the epidemic hit home too. In Donaldsonville, the number of cases for people with Influenza-like illnesses (ILI) was more than four times higher in the time span of Dec. 1 to Dec. 31 than it was in the year 2011 time frame. According to Loretta Larvadais, there were 198 cases in the month of December who came to the Prevost Hospital where she is the Director of Nursing.

The numbers at the Prevost show that of those 198 cases that come to the emergency room with ILI, 56 of them are children aged between zero and six years old. The other cases are a wide variety of ages. Larvadais said she think the increase is simply because people are taking less of the flu shot.

Although the strand of the flu is different each year, Larvadais said she recommends that everybody take the flu shot every year.

“Doctors run the flu shot off of ones from the past, but sometimes you get a new strand that isn’t in the vaccine yet,” Larvadais said about the help of the flu shot. “So whatever new one they find this year, will be in next years vaccine. By then they may be have come up with another one.”

“I recommend that they take the flu shot every year just in case.”

Once patients are treated through the ER, they are sent home with prescriptions and Dzu, the Pharmacist at Wal-mart in Donaldsonville, said he’s seen a lot prescriptions in the past couple weeks for people with ILI. The most prescribed treatment for the patients was for Tamiflu.

“Pretty much that’s the main one a lot of doctors have been using,” Dzu said about the prescribed medicines.

Dzu also killed the myth that people get the flu after taking the flu shot. He said that’s not the case.

“After people get the flu shot, they’ll get sick,” Dzu said. “Pretty much, their bodies are trying to build up immunity to it. It is part of the virus that is in the body. That’s why they are getting symptoms of it, but they aren’t actually getting the flu.”

Dzu said the best ways to avoid ILI and other illness are basic prevention tips: wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, use hand sanitizer.

There have been reports too that stores like Walgreen’s and other pharmacies are running low on vaccines due to the high demand. Those stores are working to help out as much as they can to provide the necessities despite the low supply.

“We’re still offering flu shots at many Walgreen’s pharmacies,” Robert Elfinger said, Walgreen’s representative. “However due to strong consumer demand in recent weeks and vaccine no longer being available to manufactures there are some locations where it might be limited. We are continuing to distribute vaccine, but are recommending people call ahead to make sure of the availability.”