Northside Forsyth physician explains local flu situation

cold flu

Like other health care facilities around the nation, Northside Hospital Forsyth has seen an increase in the number of patients dealing with influenza in recent weeks.

“We are certainly seeing an increase in flu. It’s kind of leveling off a little bit right now,” said Dr. Doug Olson, an emergency medicine physician at Northside Forsyth.

“We’ve had a lot of patients come in with flu-like illness that may have tested positive for a different respiratory illness. But flu has definitely been a big player, specifically Influenza A. People are feeling pretty rough with it. They feel pretty worn down, very achy, coughs, some GI (gastroenterological) symptoms — typical flu-like symptoms.”

Olson said some elderly patients and especially patients who have underlying lung disease have needed to be admitted to the hospital.

He noted that an influenza summary map issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Georgia in purple, among the highest rates of highest rates of activity of respiratory illness that includes fever plus a cough or sore throat.

“Certainly that translates into Forsyth County,” Olson said. “Really it’s hard to predict for sure what’s going to happen over the next few weeks. My suspicion is that we’re going to see a bump in flu again after the holidays just because of gatherings.

“We’ve seen a little bit of flattening of the curve, not only with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) but influenza, but I think it’s really too soon to say we’ve reached a peak and we’re going to see a decrease, especially with the holidays coming up and that’s typically when we see bumps in respiratory-borne illnesses as well.”

Olson encouraged people to practice good hand hygiene and to isolate when needed.

“If you’ve got a respiratory illness, try to avoid exposing others to it,” he said.

He also encouraged people to get their flu shots and bivalent COVID-19 boosters, if eligible.

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