Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Good hygiene can help ward off flu, other bugs

Monday, February 13, 2017 by Chris Reber creber@tnonline.com in Local News

Emergency departments are the front line when it comes to determining whether you have a flu, a stomach bug or just a regular old cold.

At Blue Mountain Health System, they’ve seen a definite uptick in cases of all three, as winter rolls on.

“Influenza A, and now B are coming around. It’s kind of ramped up over the last few weeks. Viral gastroenteritis. You obviously have a lot more viruses circulating with people returning to school,” said Steve Albrich, a physician assistant in the emergency department.

Albrich said there’s about one case per day of flu. He said they can usually be identified by a particularly high fever and body aches.

They’ll also see everything from strep throat; hand, foot and mouth disease; and other viruses. Those are viral infections where the best thing that a patient can do is treat the symptoms, and wait it out.

If someone tests positive for strep or pneumonia, they can be treated with antibiotics.

He said that the same illnesses are seen throughout the year, but at a lower rate than is seen during the winter months.

“Practice good hygiene, don’t touch your face out in public — cough into your elbow, not into your hands. good hygiene, lots of rest, Tylenol for symptomatic support, and if you’re not getting better, get checked out.