Douglas’s Fire Chief Mario Novoa continues to work with local health care providers, DUSD School’s and charter school’s to education the public on the influenza (flu) outbreak.
In Cochise County the number has risen from 136 to 231 reported cases in the past week.
Alma Garcia from Elfrida Elementary reported to the Douglas Dispatch that they had an absentee rate of 38 percent due to the flu outbreak.
No numbers were provided by Douglas Unified School District.
Both Chiricahua Community Health Centers and Douglas Family Health continue to offer flu clinics. Douglas Family Health is offering free flu vaccines until they run out. CCHCI offers free vaccination to children six months to 18 years of age.
Dorothy Estrada with CCHCI said they are seeing an increase of patients with the noroviruse and the flu at the same time.
The noroviruse also known at the stomach flu are a group of viruses that are the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Typical symptoms include nausea, throwing up diarrhea and stomach cramps. Occasionally, people will also experience mild fever, chills, headache, body aches and feel very tired.
The illness begins suddenly with throwing up and/or diarrhea; children usually throw up more often than adults.
The illness is unpleasant but doesn’t last long. For most people, symptoms last just 24 to 48 hours with no long term health effects due to the illness.
The illness can be more severe among the very young, elderly and people with weakened immune systems. More severe forms of the illness are generally related to dehydration.
People are advised to clean any area that a person with either the noroviruse and or flu has been in contact with.
If you are feeling either symptoms of the noroviruse or flu you are recommended to stay home drink plenty of fluids and call your doctor.
Estrada also said that patients coming into both CCHCI and Southeastern Arizona Medical Center are being asked to mask themselves before entering the facilities.
Masks are available at both facilities before you go into waiting area.
“We don’t want patients coming in for something other than the flu or noroviruse and getting sick because of their visit,” Estrada said.
Chief Novoa would like to remind the public that if you call the ambulance they are required to take you to the nearest hospital facility.
The Fire Department staff is aware that many Douglas people see doctors from Tucson, Sierra Vista and or Bisbee but because of staffing shortage are only able to take a patient to Southeastern Arizona Medical Center.
He also recommends that if you have not yet received you flu shot and are not sick that it is not too late to get one.
Other health recommendations to stay health throughout flu season are:
· Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
· Avoid close contact.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze but not with your hands.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
· Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
If you or your organization is in any need of flu prevention supplies such as face mask contact the Douglas Fire Department at (520) 417- 7372.