Deadly flu season forces hospitals, schools to make changes

Deadly flu season forces hospitals, schools to make changes (Image 1)

This deadly flu season has people and businesses changing their habits in an effort to avoid getting sick.

So far more than 475 people have been hospitalized because of the flu and 17 people have died.

The latest death was Patrick Sass, 46, of Greenbrier who died Tuesday afternoon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, according to his family.

At North Crest Medical Center in Springfield the hospital is recommending that children under 12 not visit patients.

“This is not a we think we have the flu within our population,” North Crest CEO Randy Davis said. “I can tell you we have the flu.”

Davis said the visitation recommendation is meant to protect the visitors, as well as patients.

“This year is different,” he said. “The majority of the in patients are exhibiting some form of the flu according to our medical staff.”

The hospital has had more than 100 cases of flu and continues to see patients develop flu-like symptoms.

Metro schools sent home a stay-at-home letter for parents to let them know guidelines for when it is a good idea to keep their children home from school.

People News 2 spoke with said they are being more vigilant with hand washing, avoiding people who appear sick and getting the flu shot.

“We are trying to stay as germ free as possible now,” Penny Johnson said. “I had the flu about two weeks ago and then I got bronchitis, so I am still kind of on medicine.”

She continued, “It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.”

Medical experts said the flu shot may not prevent you from getting the flu, but it can prevent more serious complications developing because of the flu.

Suzanne Parry got the flu shot and wears gloves around town to help protect her from the flu.

“I am trying to tell everyone I know to be aware of it, to stay clean and not eat with your hands after being outside,” she said. “I had a flu shot so we will see if it works.”

Others who did not get the flu shot are also working to stay healthy, despite not being vaccinated.

“I have a young child at home and my wife,” Steve Crossland said. “They got the shot, but I didn't get the shot so I try to stay away from people who look sick.”

Melvin Christian said his diet is helping keep him healthy despite skipping the flu shot.

“Wash your hands, keep clean and eating good that is the big thing,” he said. “I've done well, I haven't gotten the flu.”

There is still time to get the flu shot.

Kroger and the Little Clinic both have flu shots left and there is not appointment necessary.

The Little Clinic said it is important to get your flu shot right away because vaccine supplies fluctuate from day to day.  

Medical experts said the flu shot will not necessarily prevent you from getting the flu, but it can lessen the severity of symptoms if you contract the flu.

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