OUTBREAK: Riverside Community Hospital is noting record breaking numbers regarding the “flu” outbreak.
By Kaley Pederson, Staff Writer
On January 4, 2018, Riverside Community Hospital held a press conference regarding rising influenza cases among patients throughout Riverside County. Doctor Steven Kim spoke at the conference regarding flu symptoms and people who are more likely to catch pneumonia, the most severe complication of influenza. Dr. Kim explained to reporters that “symptoms of the ‘flu’ or influenza could be: fever, body ache, fatigue, cough, runny-nose, and/or sore throat,” and “those most likely to be at risk of the flu becoming pneumonia are the elderly, infants, people with asthma/COPD, or people with weak immune systems.”
As of January 4, 2018, seventy-five patients were confirmed with the influenza virus. Between late 2017 and early 2018, Riverside County has faced one death, a ten-year old boy lost to the virus. There are approximately 19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases in Riverside County that involve the flu. Between December 17 to December 23, 1,836 patients visited the emergency room (ER) due to a flu-like illness; between December 24 to December 30, 3,445 patients visited the emergency room due to a flu-like illness. Emergency vehicles were also busy; 3,415 emergency transports are out often due to the rise in sickness and are at a 31% increase from the average 2,604 patient transports.
As of January 8, 2018, there have been four flu associated deaths, but citizens hunt for explanations on how deadly the flu could be for them. In some cases, influenza can inflame a person’s lungs, causing respiratory failure; when sick with the flu, your body is more vulnerable to bacterial infections, which makes it possible for influenza to develop into pneumonia. There are three types of influenza that can attack your immune system: Type A,B, and C. Influenza A typically originates from animals (i.e. swine, ducks, or birds) and is the source of all the major flu pandemics. Influenza vaccinations are more commonly used for Influenza B rather than for the more prominent virus, but small cases still occur when mixed with a “C” strand. Influenza C is uncommon but still known to infect pigs or humans and cause local epidemics. Influenza Types A and B are the most common cases; to prevent the flu, doctors recommend washing your hands thoroughly, not touching your face, receiving the flu shot, and avoiding contact with those who are sick. Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) is offering free walk-in flu vaccinations to all RUSD teachers, families, and employees at the Central Registration Center (CRC) located at 5700 Arlington Avenue on January 31 from 1:30-7:00pm.