Flu Season Winds Down, But Not Over

Posted at: 01/24/2013 10:43 PM
Updated at: 01/24/2013 10:46 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- It's been one of the earlier and most severe flu seasons in years. The number of cases is slowing down, but doctors say we're still not in the clear. 15 more Minnesotans have died from the flu in the past week, bringing the total this year to 75.

There have been fewer deaths and also fewer hospitalizations, 208 compared to 500 the week before. Still, doctors say we're not out of the woods just yet.

"We fortunately have no children with the flu virus," said Director Renae Loth-Birch at Discover Magic Moments Daycare Center in Rochester. A sigh of relief for those at the daycare and for parents

"They've gotten sick, haven't gotten the flu thank goodness. They've only missed a day of school a piece. I've only missed one day of work, so we’re lucky," said father of three Leonard Bryant.

However, the season is not over just yet. "The peak probably happened a week or two or go. That's not to say that we're not going to see more cases," said Dr. Pritish Tosh with the Mayo Clinic.

Since kids are notorious for spreading germs, the daycare says it’s doing everything it can to keep this virus away. "If they are showing any flu virus symptoms, no they can’t come for at least 24 hours of being well," said Loth-Birch. They teach them healthy habits too. "They know to sneeze into their elbow," she said.

"As a parent the worst thing you can do is see your kid sick. That's what makes you feel the worst," said Bryant.

However, kids aren't the only ones who've got to be cautious. "We tend to think of things as, oh it’s just the flu, but influenza itself is actually quite a deadly disease," said Dr. Tosh.

This season, people of all ages have died. Dr. Tosh says it's important to take note of your symptoms. Some, can handle the virus just fine. "Most healthy people without any major medical problems who get influenza will do just fine on their own with just plenty of fluids, getting lots of rest, and the Tamiflu is really not for them," said Dr. Tosh

They try not to just hand out Tamiflu, and there's a reason for that. "Just like any antibiotic, sometimes if you have a lot of antivirals out, what we could end up doing is developing resistance," said Dr. Tosh. Of course, in some case it’s recommended.
Those at the daycare are just crossing their fingers their kids won’t need it this year. "I hope so!" said Loth-Birch.

As Dr. Tosh mentioned, they don't put Tamiflu on the shelves for a reason, but in cases where someone is having symptoms like chest pains, trouble breathing, or have previous existing health conditions, he says it can be very effective.