AtlantiCare Sees Three Times the Number of Flu Cases as Last Year's Peak
The hospital is offering advice on how to deal with the disease this year.
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center is experiencing approximately three times higher volume of actual flu cases than it did at the peak of last year’s flu season, hospital officials said Thursday night, Jan. 10. Last year’s flu season peaked from mid-February to early March.
AtlantiCare Urgent Care Centers in Atlantic, Cape May and southern Ocean counties have seen an increase of more than nine percent for the number of people seeking treatment, hospital officials added. Most of those patients were seeking care for flu-like symptoms. AtlantiCare Primary Offices have seen a similar increase, hospital officials said, and 85 percent of those seeking care at the Primary Care Plus office in Marmora on Monday, Jan. 7 were admitted for acute illnesses or flu-like symptoms.
Hospital officials recommend those with flu-like symptoms first see their primary care provider, a community health center or urgent care center before visiting the hospital. However, those who become acutely ill should seek emergency care. Hospital officials say symptoms of an acute illness include constant vomiting, difficulty breathing or symptoms that temporarily improve but return with a higher fever and worse cough.
Hospital officials recommend the following points for preventing the spread of the flu:
* Wash your hands often;
* Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing;
* Stay home from work or school if you are sick; and
* Getting the flu shot.
The flu shot is especially important for those older than 65, who have a chronic health condition that could be aggravated by the flu, are around infants less than 6 months of age or are around and/or caring for individuals with a chronic condition or compromised immune system, hospital officials said.
The New Jersey Department of Health Web site can help you find a flu vaccination site near you. http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/findflushot.shtml.
An additional resource for your readers is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2012-2013.htm.