Health Alert: The 4 Fs for identifying the flu

Health Alert: The 4 Fs for identifying the flu

Alarming new numbers on the flu, and we're only halfway through the season.

In one week, eight people have died in Cuyahoga County alone. The deaths were reported between Jan. 4 and Jan. 10.

The patients were from Bay Village, Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Rocky River and two from Cleveland. All those who died were age 60 or older.

The new numbers from the Cuyahoga County Health Department are the highest weekly numbers since 2009. The flu is responsible for 16 deaths in Cuyahoga County already, and nearly 1,200 hospitalizations, which is the highest total in six years.

"We've really seen this come on so strong and it's been so rough on these individuals," said State Director of CVS' Minute Clinic, Dr. Iyaad Hasan.
 
He says the strain going around this year is longer-lasting and more severe.

Hasan says there are four Fs that will help you distinguish a bad cold or virus, from the flu.

"Was it a fast onset? If you have a fast onset of symptoms, that's already a trigger for you to think about the flu. Number 2, it always comes with a fever. We're talking 101, 102, 103. If you have those two symptoms, you should think about seeing a clinical provider," said Hasan.

Other symptoms to look out for: If you're experiencing extreme fatigue, and feel fragile, with severe muscle aches.

According to Hasan, if you do have the flu, seeing a doctor and getting on medication, like Tamiflu or Relenza, will be a game changer. Those medications can actually decrease symptoms and shorten the course of the illness, if administered within the first 48 hours of experiencing symptoms. 
 
"Sadly, some of our elderly don't have the proper transportation resources to get to a clinician very fast. So it's important to maintain connections with family members or friends who are probably in that age group," he said.
 
According to Minute Clinic, the Tamiflu and Relenza inventory is healthy statewide, and there shouldn't be a shortage, despite the volume of people who are sick.

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