Doctors seeing surge in flu cases


A recent spike in flu cases has prompted Schneck Medical Center to impose visitor restrictions beginning Monday.

Stacy East, an infection preventionist, reported Friday morning that the Seymour hospital has handled between 70 and 75 cases of influenza at its main campus over the last two and a half weeks with a majority of those cases arising in the last week and a half. East said those numbers include both types A and B cases.

The restrictions require visitors to be 18 years or older and limit the number of visitors to a patient’s room to three at a time. Visits are limited to family members and significant others.

“We ask if you have any of the flu-like symptoms, you refrain from visiting patients,” she said.

Other hospitals in Indiana have taken similar measures as flu activity increases across the state and country.

Symptoms of the flu include fever of more than 100 degrees, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, runny nose, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea.

East said she has seen many articles about this year’s flu vaccination not being as effective but couldn’t confirm that there is anything to the stories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of those articles are misleading because the percent of effectiveness may be against one strain of flu, not all.

Either way, East said that shouldn’t prevent residents from receiving a flu shot, and it’s not too late to get one. Vaccinations take two weeks before they become effective.

“The more people that get it, the better that protection is going to be for our community,” she said. “Unless people get it, we’re going to continue to have more people get the flu, but if we build up that protection … that wall, it will help.”

Shara Calhoun, a public health nurse at the Jackson County Health Department, agreed, saying Jackson County residents can get a flu vaccination at a number of locations.

She said the flu shots are available at the department at 801 W. Second St., Seymour, at many local doctors offices and pharmacies.

The shots are recommended for anyone over the age of 6 months.

Calhoun said one way to protect children 6 months and younger is for parents and guardians to get vaccinated.

She said it is especially important for people who plan to travel to have a vaccination.

“Any time you’re around a bunch of different people from different areas, you should have that flu vaccine before you travel,” Calhoun said.

If local residents get the flu, there are limited treatment options. One is to get a prescription for Tamiflu, an antiviral medication used to treat the flu, but patients must begin doses within 48 hours of the onset of the flu.

Calhoun said patients should visit a doctor to confirm a flu diagnosis, especially if they have other risk factors, including asthma and other respiratory conditions. A diagnosis would make the doctor aware of the patient’s condition and an appropriate plan of action, she said.

“It’s a serious illness,” she said, adding patients should let doctors offices know before making their appointment that they suspect they have the flu.

Statewide, nine Indiana residents have died from the flu since Dec. 1 compared to one flu death at this same time a year ago, state health officials reported.

All but one of the nine who have died from flu this year were 50 or older, according to the weekly influenza report issued Dec. 29.

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Schneck has imposed restrictions on visitors that will take effect Monday.

  • Visitors must be 18 years of age or older
  • Visitors must be family or significant others
  • No more than three visitors in a patient’s room at a time
  • Do not visit the hospital if you have any flu-like symptoms

Symptoms of the flu

Fever of more than 100 degrees, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, runny nose, chills, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea

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For information about the flu, visit


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