Flu cases leveling off; hospitals remain cautious

PARKERSBURG – Although the number of patients presenting with flu symptoms seems to have leveled off, local hospitals are keeping precautions in place to prevent its continued spread.

A couple weeks ago, the emergency departments at Camden Clark Medical Center and Marietta Memorial Hospital were seeing a large influx of patients with flu symptoms. Medical professionals stated this was the worst flu season in years.

Susan Abdella, director of the Emergency Department for Camden Clark Medical Center, said the current number of patients with the flu has leveled off.

”We are still seeing many patients experiencing abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms,” she said. ”But the earlier surge has slowed.”

People coming to the hospital expose others to the viruses that cause the flu, medical professionals said.

Treatments can be done through the primary care physician offices and over-the-counter medications. People are advised to see their own doctors or seek out an urgent care facility for general flu symptoms.

People who are normally healthy who develop flu-like symptoms are usually urged to treat the symptoms with over-the-counter remedies, such as Tylenol, Motrin, Robitussin DM for body aches and the general feeling of being ill. Some doctors have prescribed Tamiflu, but its effectiveness can be limited, officials said.

With a high number of flu cases, both hospitals implemented restrictions on visitors.

”We are currently requesting that you still exercise caution when coming to the hospital for a non-medical reason, such as visiting a loved one or having lunch in the cafe,” Abdella said. ”We are asking that if you come to the hospital for treatment or outpatient testing and you are experiencing flu-like symptoms please wear a mask that is located at each entrance to the facility.”

Visitation has been limited at Selby General and Marietta Memorial hospitals with two adults per patient in the hospital at any time and no visitors under the age of 12. People who have a fever, cough, headache, joint aches, feel ill or very tired or have other signs of the flu are asked not to visit patients at the Marietta hospitals.

The Marietta facilities are still seeing flu cases coming in, said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations with Memorial Health System.