Doylestown Hospital
595 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 345-2200
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A Message to Our Community About Ebola

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Influenza activity continues to increase across the US and locally. An early flu season has caused a sharp increase in the number of patients arriving at Doylestown Hospital’s Emergency Department with flu symptoms in the past two months. That number is substantially higher than at this point in 2011 and 2010.

According to the latest CDC statistics, which run through Dec. 29, a total of 41 states were reporting widespread flu activity. The 2012-2013 flu season got off to an early start and is getting worse as the peak of flu season approaches.

Important things to remember:

• If anyone in your family has flu-like symptoms, you should first
call your family doctor.

• The hospital asks that people with flu and respiratory
symptoms do not visit patients, especially newborns in the
V.I.A. Maternity Center.

• It is very important to practice good hand washing and cover
your coughs.

• Keep in mind that you may be able to pass on the flu to
someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while
you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others
beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7
days after becoming sick.

• The good news is that the influenza vaccine this season is a
good match with the strain of flu virus that’s circulating. This is
still the best protection available for seasonal flu, and is
particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu-
related complications and close contacts of high-risk people.

• It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. For more information,
contact your primary health provider.

What Is the Flu?

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

• Fever
• Headache
• Tiredness (can be extreme)
• Dry cough
• Sore throat
• Nasal congestion
• Body aches

Flu Complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than 2 weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections are three examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may have worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

• Fast breathing or trouble breathing
• Bluish skin color
• Not drinking enough fluids
• Not waking up or not interacting
• Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and
worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
• Sudden dizziness
• Confusion
• Severe or persistent vomiting
• Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and
worse cough

An estimated 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications in a typical season, according to the CDC.

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