PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WOWK) – Pikeville Medical Center was set to hold a press conference on the coronavirus today and switched gears due to the severity of the flu season. The medical center says at the peak of flu season, it is seeing patients come in with the virus every day.
Clinical Manager of the Emergency Department Brandi Adkins said, “It’s all ages. It’s adults, it’s children, it’s infants – there’s really no limit to what we’re seeing right now.”
Nearly 15 million cases have been reported in the U.S. including more than 8.000 deaths. While not citing specific numbers, the CDC says it’s widespread across the tri-state.
Infectious Disease Specialist at the Pikeville Medical Center Fadi Al Akhrass said, “It’s not only by hand or contact, sometimes it’s from droplets. I can cough, I can land these droplets on your face and following the touching, you can push it to the nose or mouth and subsequently, you can get the infection”
If you begin to see flu-like symptoms, doctors emphasize the importance of staying home. Some of the most common symptoms of the flu include body aches, chills and a fever. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to go get tested for precautionary measures. But the most precautionary measure you can take is a flu shot.
“The good thing about the vaccine is when you give a vaccine to someone, you protect them from the severity of the illness. Even if it doesn’t cover 100% the duration of symptoms is going to be much smaller. So, we’re talking about a shorter period of time of illness and less severity and complications from that,” Al Akhrass said.
But there’s no shortage of safety measures, even in the hospital.
“If you see people sitting with masks on, it’s for their protection and yours too and for your family and staff members protection so don’t be alarmed, don’t be scared by that. We’re just simply taking the precautions and steps to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Adkins said.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says West Virginia continues to see a high amount of influenza-like illness, but there’s still time for people to protect themselves with a flu vaccine. The department also says that during the clinic’s normal hours of 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays, KCHD will offer free quadrivalent flu vaccines to everyone, regardless of income or insurance.
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department will also host a walk-in flu vaccine clinic on Saturday, February 8 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Quadrivalent flu vaccines are available free. High-dose flu vaccines are also available for seniors and covered by Medicare.