Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Follow the Flu on Loyola Flu Central

New Weekly Statistical Summary Charts Cases And Offers Medical Tips

MAYWOOD, Ill. - Loyola Flu Central, a weekly snapshot of flu activity locally, regionally and nationally, is now available on the Loyola University Health System website, and through Twitter on twitter.com/loyolaflu. Loyola Flu Central documents cases reported by health agencies in the U.S., Illinois and Cook County as well as Loyola University Health System.

“This year’s flu season started early and while many people have been infected by the virus, everyone has been affected by the virus,” says Jorge Parada, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, medical director of the infection prevention and control program at Loyola. “Getting the vaccine is the best protection against the flu, and knowing the facts is also a plus.”

Loyola Flu Central is updated every Tuesday with new information, including statistics and health tips. Loyola began reporting diagnosed seasonal flu cases in October.

“This year’s flu season is explosive and it is largely preventable,” says Paul Schreckenberger, Ph.D, director of the clinical microbiology laboratory at Loyola, who oversees use of the respiratory panel that is used to test for 17 viruses (including the flu) and three bacterial pathogens in about 60 minutes. Loyola is one of only two hospitals in Illinois to use the respiratory panel, which offers quick, accurate results with a single sample. 

Here is what is known about the 2012-2013 flu outbreak, according to Dr. Schreckenberger:

  • The predominate strain causing the flu is the seasonal H3N2 strain.
  • The H3N2 strain is covered in this year’s vaccine.
  • People vaccinated cannot get flu from the vaccine.
  • The 2012-2013 flu outbreak began early and will end early. 
  • Antiviral therapy is available for treating influenza A, and patients who have flu symptoms should seek medical attention.
  • If you have the flu, do not go to work or attend school. 
  • For safety, wash your hands frequently with soap and water and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.