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July 14, 2024

Jackson County flu levels are ‘high’

Woman holding sleeve up showing band-aid on arm after having a vaccination shot.
Oregon health authorities are worried about an infectious disease raging through schools, with almost one in 10 kindergarteners missing at least one required vaccination. CDC photo
December 28, 2023

‘Sharp increase’ in child emergency room visits

Rogue Valley Times staff report

Jackson County is seeing a “high” level of flu virus cases, leading to an increase in emergency room visits, particularly among children, Jackson County Public Health officials said Thursday.

The statistics of Jackson County emergency room visits among adults and children experiencing influenza-like illness were not shared in a news release issued Thursday afternoon, but Tanya Phillips, health promotion program manager for Jackson County Public Health, said in an interview that the visits are “higher than expected.”

Jackson County Public Health’s announcement comes during a time of peak activity during the flu season and when Southern Oregon currently seeing the highest flu test positivity rate in the state, according to the release. The Oregon Health Authority’s “Flu Bites” latest report, spanning Dec. 10-16, shows Southern Oregon has a 12.3% test positivity rate, while all other regions of the state remain in the single digits. 

In its Thursday news release, Jackson County Public Health offered four strategies to help combat the flu:

• Take the time to get vaccinated.

• Take everyday preventive actions that are recommended to reduce the spread of the flu.

• Get tested for respiratory infections.

• Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

The flu “usually comes on suddenly, unlike the common cold,” the release said. People who get it can feel some or all of these symptoms: “fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (tiredness),” according to the release.

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea if they get the flu, though this is more common in children than adults, the release said. 

Most people who get the flu will experience a mild case, and no antibiotics are needed, according to Jackson County Public Health. Staying home and avoiding contact with others is the best care plan in these cases, the release said. 

However, children and adults can experience any number of more severe symptoms that require immediate emergency care.

Jackson County Public Health encourages people of all ages to get their flu vaccine. You can find a clinic near you by logging on to vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/, or call 211.

This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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