PORTLAND — Emergency rooms around the metro area have been swamped with flu victims of late. Doctors say H1N1, also known as swine flu, which caused a pandemic in 2009 is back.
At least seven people have died in Oregon and around 180 have been hospitalized. One of the deaths was a 5-year-old Eugene boy who got sick on Christmas day and died at OHSU.
Officials say the flu is widespread throughout the state and doctors expect more cases, but we’re not alone. Cases are spreading all over the country.
“The numbers are increasing and we are seeing more severe cases of the flu. We are seeing healthy persons require hospitalization,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Health Officer for the tri-county area.
There is a vaccine for the swine flu that can help with symptoms.
The 2009 pandemic killed well over 20,000 people worldwide with some estimates as high as 285,000 from other illnesses triggered by complications from the flu.
Officials recommend getting your flu shot, stay home if sick, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizers, avoid spreading germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and avoid close contact with sick people.
The Oregon Flu Hotline is toll-free at 1-800-978-3040. You can also find more online at flu.oregon.gov.