Flu cases on the rise in Philadelphia area

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Flu cases rise in Philadelphia area. Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News Mornings on February 13, 2018. (WPVI)

The number of influenza cases being reported across the Philadelphia area is exploding.

Doctors across the region are reporting a huge spike in the H3N2 strain of the flu, also known as Type A, and it is packing a punch.

"Fever, chills, lots of coughing, sometimes even have nausea vomiting, diarrhea," said Dr. Athanasios Melisiotis, of Hahnemann University Hospital.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, there have been 26 influenza-related deaths last week alone.

Since October 1, Montgomery County has reported 2,100 cases, Chester County 1,340, Lehigh County 1,541, and Philadelphia County 1,503.

The state of Delaware broke a record with 995 cases reported last week, including six deaths.

New Jersey almost doubled the number of flu cases last week with more than 2,000 reported. That compares with the 4,709 cases the Garden State saw the previous three weeks.



"You can get the flu still with the flu vaccine," said Dr. Aditi Joshil, of Jefferson Urgent Care. "This year one of the strains had mutated so it was not 100 percent effective, but, saying that, the flu vaccine is never 100 percent effective."
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Flu epidemic hits Tri State area: Dann Cuellar reports on Action News at 11 p.m., February 12, 2018



Hospitals are instituting visitor restrictions to protect patients, staff and visitors and Jefferson is really pushing its 'JeffConnect" App, which allows patients to FaceTime with their doctors without ever having to physically come into the office.

"It avoids you having to go to a waiting room where flu is rampant," said Dr. Joshil. "It could save you from getting the flu."

To help decrease your risk of getting the flu, here are a few precautions you can take:

Dr. Melisiotis said, "Number one thing is to always wash your hands; if you're sick, avoid other people. If you have a fever or are coughing, stay home."

Dr. Joshil suggests, "If you are around people who have had the flu, or you're worried about being contagious, make sure you wipe down all surfaces, especially in places you're working."

Doctors also suggest keeping plenty of hand sanitizer around and using it often. And as much as possible, try to avoid being around people who are sick.

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