Where Is The Flu Breaking Out?

While other parts of the country have been besieged by this season's influenza virus, it hasn't shown up in any great numbers in the East Bay ... yet.

This season's version of the flu appears to be late on arrival here in the East Bay.

Despite a national map showing flu activity in the Oakland area as being "intense," medical facilities and school districts aren't reporting any serious outbreaks of the illness.

Here are some outlets for flu shots in Martinez and Pleasant Hill, as Patch reported in December. The website of Contra Costa Health Services also has a convenient list of places to get the flu shot.

Do you know anybody who has been infected? Tell us in the comments.

East Bay health officials say they expect this winter's flu virus, which has caused health emergencies on the East Coast, to get here eventually.

"It seems to be working its way here," said Ben Drew, spokesman for John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

Medical facilities are making preparations for the unwelcome visitor. One of their chief strategies is urging residents to get a flu shot.

A list of places to get the flu shot is on the website of Contra Costa Health Services.

The vaccine usually takes about two weeks to become effective, so now is a good time to get vaccinated ahead of the oncoming flu virus. For the time being, it's a waiting game at medical facilities.

A week ago, it was reported that the Bay Area was one of two California areas of outbreak of a flu strain called H3N2 that has circulated on the East Coast.

Dr. Steve O'Brien, vice president of medical affairs for Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, said his hospital and clinics have seen a "very heavy amount" of people infected with a cold that contains a harsh cough this winter.

However, he said, Alta Bates doctors and nurses have seen very few patients infected with influenza.

It's a similar story at John Muir Medical Center, where Drew said there has been a large number of patients the past few weeks, but most have respiratory ailments such as a cold.

Many districts, such as the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Concord, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill, are reporting absences at normal levels.

Dr. O'Brien said the typical symptoms for the flu include a high fever between 101 and 103 degrees, severe aches, chills and a cough.

The virus can be transmitted through touch and the air. O'Brien said it's important to minimize your contact with people in crowds. Washing your hands is one of the best preventive measures.

He advised people who do contract the flu to stay home.

"Don't go to work sick and spread it," he said

People with the flu should drink plenty of water. Eat if you can. If you can't, try some chicken broth. Get plenty of rest. If you're achy, take some medication such as Tylenol to reduce the symptoms.

"It won't get rid of the flu, but you'll feel better," O'Brien said.

morning glory January 17, 2013 at 08:56 PM
A lot of people at my sister's work are sick. Every one of them had a flu shot. Every one of them is coming into work coughing and spreading their germs to the healthy poeple. Please people stay home and keep your sick kids at home too!


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