Influenza hitting parts of the Tri-State area

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost all of the
United States is experiencing high levels of influenza-like illness. And unfortunately the Tri-State area is caught in the middle of the influenza outbreak.

It doesn't look busy right now, but the emergency room at Blessing Hospital is seeing its fair share of patients who are suffering from the flu.

The flu virus has sprung earlier then expected and now more and more people are feeling the aches, pains and fever that come with the illness.

Blessing has reported they saw a spike in flu cases right before Christmas and so far this season, they've treated more then 100 confirmed cases of the flu.

Carleen Orton is the infection control specialist at Blessing and she said people have got to just stay home if they think they're suffering from the flu.

"And really if someone has the flu they are contagious for a full week and one person and every person that has the flu gives it to least five other people and you can see that it's a pyramid effect because those five people give it to five more people and that's how you see it spread throughout the community," Orton said.

Another place in the area that is also taking a proactive approach to making sure the flu bug stays out of their facility is the North Adams Home in Mendon. Nicole Flachs is the director of nursing and she said they've been addressing the issue not just with the staff, but also the residents and so far this year, they've managed to keep the flu bug away.

"We track employee illnesses as well as resident illnesses. They just can't call in and say I don't feel well today I'm not coming in. We have a checklist that we'll go through. Do you have a temperature greater then 100.5? Do you have a cough? What's been the duration? Do you have any other symptoms and are you under the care of a physician? They cannot come back to work without being fever free for at least 24 hours," Flachs said.

Orton said it's not too late to get a flu shot. The nasal spray vaccine is for people between the ages of two and 49. The vaccine usually takes a couple of weeks to build up your immunity to the virus.

Has the flu hit you and your friends and loved ones especially hard this season? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page here.