Saturday, March 17, 2012

Clatsop County Health Department Tracking Higher-Than-Normal Resperatory Illness

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Clatsop County Public Health Department is urging the public to observe basic preventative health steps as a result of an increase in reports of upper respiratory tract infections across the county.

Surveillance of local hospital emergency departments and urgent care and walk-in clinics has revealed bronchitis, sinus infections, strep throat and a small number of positive influenza tests. One local school district reported that its absenteeism rate peaked at 19 percent, versus a normal rate of 6 to 8 percent.

Predominant symptoms found in school cases are fever, sore throat, body aches, headaches and nasal and chest congestion.

Neither Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria nor Providence Seaside Hospital in Seaside is reporting any increased hospitalization as a result of these infections. However, people with fever and sore throat should be medically evaluated, as untreated strep throat can lead to complications including heart and kidney problems.

The Public Health Department reminds citizens to help prevent the spread of respiratory illness by:

· Covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throwing the tissue away

· Washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing

· Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth

· Trying to avoid close contact with sick people

· Getting a flu shot (for those age 6 months and older)

Those who do contract a flu-like illness are urged to remain home at least 24 hours after the fever is gone (if no fever-reducing medicine is used), to reduce the risk of spreading the illness at work or school.

For more information, go to the Public Health page on the Clatsop County website, or call (503) 325-8500.

Released by: Tom Bennett
Community Relations Coordinator
(503) 338-3622

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