Dr. Mark Satterfield is the Plumas County Health Officer as well as an emergency room doctor at Plumas District Hospital.
“I just worked two shifts and it was absolutely raging,” Satterfield said during an interview last week. But this week, he said there are signs that the flu is waning.
“During the peak week, seven of 10 swabs tested positive for the flu,” he said of those who were tested at PDH. “This past week it was one out of 12.”
After researching the flu epidemic, he said it appears that while across the nation some states are still peaking, California is seeing fewer new cases of the flu.
The other good news is that there is enough Tamiflu locally, so that patients can be given the drug as soon as they present with symptoms.
“The most important thing is to start Tamiflu at first signs,” Satterfield said. The drug needs to be administered within the first 48 hours to be as effective as it can be.
It’s difficult to know whether it’s a cold or the flu and when to visit the doctor.
“If a child has had a cough or a cold for a couple of days and then suddenly develops a fever, take them to the doctor,” Satterfield advised. Also, any breathing difficulty is another sign that this is probably more than a common cold.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness).
“Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems.”
The flu can develop into a secondary, bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia or affect other organs.
Local schools have been reporting higher than average absences, with Plumas Unified School District releasing the following data: September: 48.8; October: 49.18; November: 55.06; December: 74.54; and January: 79.08.