Local flu season may be past its peak

Print Article

The worst of an already deadly flu season may be over, according to local health professionals.

As of Jan. 4, 13 Idahoans had died from influenza, and eight of those deaths occurred in the state’s five northernmost counties. That marks the highest statewide total since 2010.

However, officials at Kootenai Health and the Panhandle Health District believe the number of cases is beginning to dwindle.

“We’ve had some busy moments, but now we’re coming back down on that curve,” said Amy Ward, infection prevention manager at Kootenai Health.

Kim Young and Samantha Tuskan, interim public information officers at the Panhandle Health District, echoed those sentiments.

“I think we’re through the worst part and starting to see a decline,” Tuskan said.

Ward said confirmed cases of the flu virus vat Kootenai Health peaked during the week from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6, when the hospital ran 217 tests, of which 32 percent were positive.

In the following week — Jan. 7 to Jan. 13 — Kootenai Health ran 161 tests and yielded 28 percent positive results. During that same week, the Panhandle Health District conducted a total of 237 tests, with 26 percent coming back as positive.

Ward said all flu seasons are different and unpredictable, but they do have one thing in common: severity.

Even though the number of fatalities has risen this year, Ward doesn’t think this flu season has been out of the ordinary.

“So far it’s just another flu season — chalk one down for the record books,” Ward said.

Flu season officially began on Nov. 12, but can range from anywhere between October to April in a given year.

Ward recommended the flu vaccination as the best protection against the virus, adding that nearly 100 percent of Kootenai Health staff has received the vaccine this season.

The Panhandle Health District recommends all people older than 6 months of age get immunized.

While vaccinations aren’t 100 percent effective in prevention, they can reduce the chances of exposure by 40 to 60 percent. Ward also emphasized that the vaccine will reduce the severity of the flu.

As for other ways of prevention, Kootenai Health and the Panhandle Health District noted the importance of thorough hand washing and respiratory etiquette — covering your coughs and sneezes.

If you do catch the virus, health experts highly suggest staying home from work or school to avoid spreading germs to others.

Typical symptoms include fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, persistent cough, and extreme fatigue. If you are experiencing many or all of these, health officials recommend that you see a physician as soon as possible.

Ward urged people to avoid visiting the emergency room unless they are experiencing extreme symptoms, such as difficulty breathing.

According to a Centers for Disease Control report published Friday, Idaho is one of nine states experiencing moderate influenza-like illness activity. High influenza-like activity was seen last week in 32 states and Puerto Rico, while the remaining nine states — including Montana and Washington — experienced either low or minimal activity.

Print Article

Read More Local News

A ‘tale of three winters’

February 19, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press As predicted many weeks ago, snow returned to Coeur d’Alene and surrounding regions on Valentine’s Day. Cliff Harris measured 6 inches at his station last Wednesday. It wasn’t a record, but it was ...


Read More

Hunter who killed moose out of season convicted

February 19, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — A Mica Bay man accused of killing a moose out of season was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial earlier this month in Coeur d’Alene. But before he could be sentenced, John A. H...


Read More

Record-breaking snow blankets area, more on the way

February 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Monster snowflakes blanketed North Idaho with 7.3 inches early Saturday, breaking the previous Feb. 17 record of 7 inches set in 1986. The snow was followed by icy rain and accompanied by frigid win...


Read More

IDL hiring event is Wednesday

February 18, 2018 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee SANDPOINT — Looking for a job or want to do something new? The Idaho Department of Labor is hosting a hiring event on Wednesday, Feb. 21. 17. The event, which will run from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., will be h...


Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2018 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy