Flu cases surge as peak respiratory illness season hits Central Arkansas

Flu cases surge as peak respiratory illness season hits Central Arkansas

KATV in Little Rock, Arkansas
The number of individuals afflicted at clinics and hospitals is on the rise as the respiratory sickness season gets under way.

Teachers, parents, and medical professionals have all issued warnings about the increase of respiratory infections, with the flu being the most prevalent this year.

Dr. Meghan Repp of the Central Arkansas Pediatric Clinic in Benton gave her observations on current cases that her clinic has seen.

“This week, influenza type A has been the most common; however, influenza type B is also circulating.” Naturally, there have been a lot of COVID-19 and RSV cases this week, but influenza type A has predominated. We actually had more cases of the flu diagnosed in our clinic yesterday than we have had any other day this year, so I believe we are likely near the top of the disease,” Repp stated.

Patients at certain clinics reported falling unwell more than once, and some even had a confluence of ailments in the same area.

One child educator who has dealt with numerous sick students in the classroom is Jenna Ward.

Extra cleaning procedures, such as using soap and water, bleach, Clorox, and other cleaning supplies, as well as monitoring the children to make sure they don’t touch one another. Making sure the kids are not touching each other—that is, not putting items in their mouths, not picking things up off the floor—is perhaps the hardest aspect of the job. It’s a lot, and you want to hug them, but you’re trying not to take in everything they bring in the process. Ward remarked, “You want to make sure they’re okay.

Ward emphasized that witnessing a child ill is never easy.

“It really hurts your heart when you see them cry and you don’t know what to do because we are the parents during the day…”

Dr. Repp recommended simple measures like cleaning hands, donning masks when necessary, covering coughs, and—most importantly—getting vaccinated to stop future complications in order to reduce the transmission of infections at home and in public.

Repp hypothesized that the present high may be caused in part by the minor decline in vaccination rates.

“I think overall we experienced a little bit fewer than average children getting their flu vaccines and I think that is contributing to the major rates of the flu that we are seeing and we’re definitely seeing a lot of post flu pneumonias, post flu secondary infections and even post flu hospitalizations and we know for sure that the risk of getting severe flu like that is a lot less when you receive your flu vaccine,” Repp stated.

Repp stated that, in contrast to popular assumption, there is still time to get vaccinated by going to a health clinic or primary care physician.

It is usually advised that adults and children stay at home to stop the spread of these respiratory infections.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports that the state of Arkansas continues to rank highly on the respiratory illness scale.

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