Not much flu, but plenty of colds hit Paynesville

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 1/19/00.

Winter colds and illnesses continue to affect the Paynesville area, but few cases of influenza have been seen, according to medical sources around town.

The Paynesville Area Medical Clinic estimates that 30 percent of its patients over the past six weeks have been afflicted by various winter ailments, according to Rosemary Devlin, clinic manager, after consultations with clinic doctors. Winter crud, Devlin called it: sore throats, head colds, chest colds, and various types of nasty stuff.

The doctors estimated about 20 cases of true influenza, characterized by aching joints and high fever.

Flu shots can help reduce your risks to influenza. Devlin said the clinic has had a great turnout for flu shots this fall. On Tuesdays, the clinic offered walk-in vaccinations and the triage nurse gave flu shots on other days. The clinic gave approximately 900 flu shots in October and 300 in November.

Mari Louis of the Good Samaritan Care Center credits flu shots with reducing their exposure so far this winter. "We had 100 percent compliance with our residents taking the flu vaccine in October, so we've had no cases so far," she said.

Other precautions include asking sick people not to visit, having visitors stop by the desk to check if the resident is sick, and increased diligence in hand washing.

Louis said the Good Samaritan residents, on doctor's orders, would be taking ametedmine for 10 days, which would lessen the symptoms and severity of influenza.

"Staffwise, we've had virtually no cases and few days out," said Louis. They encourage staff to get flu shots, too, and provide them free of charge. "We really believe that prevention is the key, and we take ownership in that," said Louis.

With flu season lasting until February, Louis and Devlin encouraged people to still get a flu shot. "Oh, absolutely," said Devlin, when asked if flu shots were still a good idea. "There's a lot of flu season left."

The report from the school mirrored the medical reports: colds and coughs and strep throat, but little influenza. "Attendance is looking very good," said Beth Realdsen, school nurse, last Friday, noting that the middle school had just seven absences on Thursday.

The high school reported average attendance and said the worst stretch so far this winter occurred before Christmas. "We're hoping it's by us," said principal John Janotta, who also urged students and staff to stay healthy.

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