Gem State Roundup
Doctors urge Idahoans to get flu shots ‘now’ as influenza surges
A medical patient gets a vaccination in the deltoid muscle of her arm. (Courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics)
Health care providers at one of Idaho’s largest chains of urgent-care clinics were alarmed in the past week, as the share of patients whose flu tests came back positive reached 44%.
Primary Health Medical Group announced the spike in influenza at its clinics Wednesday morning. The group urged Idahoans to get vaccinated for the flu, “as record numbers of influenza cases and high positivity rates are detected at Primary Health clinics across the Treasure Valley.”
More than 650 patients with influenza came to Primary Health’s clinics in the Boise area last week, said Dr. Ann Weiss, clinical director for Primary Health.
“Our positivity rate of 44% for influenza A is substantially higher than the national average of 25% and it illustrates just how much flu is circulating here in the Treasure Valley,” Weiss said in the announcement. “It takes the flu vaccine about two weeks to become fully effective in the body, so anyone who still needs that protection should go today and get their vaccine.”
State data show that patients with flu symptoms now make up nearly 10% of the clinic visits in Idaho, a higher number than at any point in the past 10 years.
Nearly 9% of emergency room patients in Idaho currently are there with flu-like symptoms, as well, the data show.
Idaho has reported nine flu-related deaths so far this season, including five in the past week. The deaths were in people age 50 and older who lived in several regions across the state.
Flu shots for all age groups, and nasal-mist vaccines for children, are available at urgent care clinics, primary care offices and pharmacies across Idaho. Some locations take walk-in appointments for a flu shot, but Idahoans can go to vaccines.gov/find-vaccines to schedule the flu vaccine of their choice, at the location of their choice.
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