Local health care providers see rise in flu cases

PITTSBURGH – Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department, issued the following statement in response to a recent rise of flu cases in Allegheny County:

“Allegheny County is no exception to the uptick in flu cases that are currently being seen nationwide. Just this week, local health care providers and hospitals have seen an acute rise in flu cases and flu inpatient hospitalizations.

“Compared to this time last year, the county has seen about 50% more flu cases reported and 64% more hospitalizations. Given the uptick in infection, we urge residents to get their flu shots, if they have not yet received one. It’s not too late.

“Residents should call their health care provider as soon as possible if they’re experiencing flu symptoms to determine if antiviral drugs should be prescribed. Antivirals can reduce severity of illness and are recommended for those at high-risk for flu complications: the elderly, children, pregnant women, and persons with chronic medical conditions. This medication works best if started within two days of onset of symptoms.

“All residents can take precautions too: Wash your hands. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands – cough or sneeze into your shoulder or elbow instead. And stay at home if you have flu symptoms (fever, muscle aches, cough, sore throat and fatigue), so as not to infect others.”