Local health officials see flu cases rise - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Local health officials see flu cases rise

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Dr. Susan McWhirter has been treating children at Rivertown Pediatrics for eight years.

With school in session, the number of flu cases has steadily increased.

Her advice is simple, yet effective.

"Eat your chicken noodle soup, drink your fluids, and take your medication if you need it for the fever," Dr. McWhirter said.

And that hasn't changed with the threat of the H1N1 strain, also known as Swine Flu.

She says H1N1 hasn't demonstrated being any more potent than the "Type A" flu, which kills more than 30,000 people every year.

Local emergency room doctors say both viruses are contracted the same way.

"Sneezing, coughing, close contact, touching, shaking hands, then touching your mouth or eyes," Dr. Mark Cousineau said.

They should be treated the same way.

Unless symptoms exist for more than a week, most doctors say to stay at home and rest.

Typically, it's the fear of the swine flu that brings patients to their office.

"We know that in years past, there has been cycles of big flu outbreaks and we're sort of overdue for a large flu epidemic and I think that part of the fear, is the swine flu going to be the big one?" Dr. McWhirter said.

Those answers may not be known until later this year.

In the mean time, the experts say if you do feel like you're getting the flu, swine or not, some of the best medicine may be a little common sense and a bowl of that chicken noodle soup.

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