The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced recently that Nebraska is among 34 states that have reported high flu activity. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported that 4,000 people in the state have been hospitalized with the flu with at least 5 deaths so far this flu season. Of these 4,000 cases in Nebraska, 2,000 have been in the Omaha area, with that number rising. 800 cases were reported this week alone, according to NDHHS. Local health officials have confirmed two infants deaths and two adult deaths of people over 65.
Since infants under the age of six months cannot receive the flu vaccine, pediatricians strongly urge parents to do their best to limit exposure to the flu and seek immediate medical attention for infants who develop any respiratory symptoms. In addition, physicians recommend frequent hand washing and getting vaccinated to stop the spread of this dangerous virus. The elderly are also at high risk for developing the flu which may cause death.
According to Stephanie Madej RN who is the Director of Nursing at Heritage Communities Senior Living Facilities in Omaha, “There have been 3 confirmed cases of influenza out of over 120 residents in the past 4 weeks at her facility; that’s less than 3 percent of the residents”.
Mrs. Madej credits early diagnosis and testing and frequent hand washing along with isolation of infected residents as the key to keeping these numbers so low.