South Coast does not escape spike in flu cases

COOS COUNTY, Ore. -- Things here in Coos County are no different than the rest of the state, as hospitals and medical clinics are seeing a spike in the number of patients suffering from the flu.

Angie Webster, Director of Education at Bay Area Hospital, says like the rest of Oregon, they have seen an uptick in flu patients. "Definitely seen an increase in the number of visits to the emergency room for flu like illness, we've seen an increase in the number of hospitalizations as well," she said.

The increase has come a little earlier than most flu seasons. "I think in years past we've seen our spike typically in February or so, so this is a little bit earlier than what we're used to, but it is flu season," said Webster.

The ages of the patients has been widespread for the most part, but one demographic has been hit harder than normal. "I've definitely seen a lot of younger, healthier adults than I normally see in the winter time," said family medical physician Stephanie Riccalarsen.

Doctors say make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and often, and they say it's not too late to get vaccinated. "It takes about 1-2 weeks for the influenza vaccine to become effective, so the sooner you get it the better, and we are still definitely giving doses of vaccine out everyday," Riccalarsen said.

Medical centers in the area are having people who check in with flu-like symptoms and the people associated with them wear masks as another way to try and slow down this spike.