Feeling The Impact Of The Flu

Monday, February 18th 2008, 12:38 pm
By: News On 6

Influenza infections hit a high point last week and, as every parent knows, it seems to spreading.  The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports health departments, doctors and some schools are reporting outbreaks of flu.

Several school districts on Monday that were having classes did not report unusually high rates of absences, but that may mean parents are sending kids to school when they're sick.  Regardless, the flu is hitting the kids hard.

Little Lauren Osmond looks a little tired, but she's actually getting better.

"We came in Friday because she had a runny nose and was developing a cough," said her mother, DeRhonda Osmond.

It's Lauren's older brothers Bryce and especially Blake, who are going downhill.

"And, his came on all of a sudden and now he's got strep, so his is much worse," added DeRhonda Osmond.

The family spent part of Monday in the exam room of Dr. Donna Krutka.  She is seeing a lot of flu in children, along with other viruses that tag along.

"And now I tell parents that after the flu or the viral illness, the second week is when you get the ear infections, the sinus infections and pneumonia and those are often the complications of a viral illness," said Dr. Donna Krutka.

February is the normal peak of the flu season, but this year, it's also been the peak of other ailments which usually come earlier.

DeRhonda's first grader believes he knows where he got it:  from a classmate at school.

"He came right back to school right after he threw up and everybody has been getting something since then," said Bryce Osmond.

That's not unlikely says Dr. Krutka, who believes plenty of rest, good food and hand washing are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness.  She says getting over one illness might leave you vulnerable for the next one.

"It kind of opens the door for getting another virus, so when you see your child getting sick, boom, boom, it's probably not that they're not getting well, it's probably that they're getting another virus," said Dr. Donna Krutka.

Some pharmacies have run out of certain antibiotics and antiviral medications, but several pharmacists say there is no overall shortage.  They say there is plenty of medication, and plenty of people who need it.

Meanwhile, the flu is closing an Adair County school district for several days this week.  Classes in Watts have been canceled class for Tuesday and Wednesday because of the number of students out with the illness.