Loyola Flu Central, a weekly snapshot of flu activity locally, regionally and nationally is now available on the Loyola University Health System web site, through Twitter and on Facebook. Loyola Flu Central documents cases reported by health agencies in the U.S., Illinois and Cook County as well as Loyola University Health System. "This year's flu season started early and while many people have been infected by the virus, everyone has been affected by the virus," says Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at Loyola. "Getting the vaccine is the best protection against the flu and knowing the facts is also a plus."
Loyola Flu Central is updated every Tuesday with new information including statistics and health tips. Loyola began reporting diagnosed seasonal flu cases in October.
"This year's flu season is explosive and it is largely preventable," says Paul Schreckenberger, Ph.D, director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at Loyola, who oversees use of the respiratory panel that is used to test for 17 viruses (including the flu) and three bacterial pathogens in about 60 minutes. Loyola is one of only two hospitals in Illinois to use the respiratory panel, which offers quick, accurate results with one single sample.
Here is what is known about the 2012-2013 flu outbreak, according to Dr. Schreckenberger:
oThe predominate straining causing flu is the seasonal H3N2 strain.
oThe H3N2 strain is covered in this year's vaccine.
oPersons vaccinated cannot get flu from the vaccine.
oThe 2012-2013 flu outbreak began early and will end early.
oAntiviral therapy is available for treating influenza A and patients who have flu symptoms should seek medical attention.
oIf you have the flu, do not go to work or attend school.
oFor best safety, wash your hands frequently with soap and water and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Source: Loyola University Health System