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Washington County nursing homes taking precautions against flu

23 of 58 residents stricken at Coffman Home

23 of 58 residents stricken at Coffman Home

February 19, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Twenty-three residents who are sick with the flu at a Hagerstown nursing home have been restricted to their rooms to prevent the virus from spreading. Shellie Davis, administrator of Coffman Nursing Home Inc., said the residents have been in their rooms for about a week. "We're just doing it as a precautionary measure. ... Until the symptoms are under control," she said. "I don't anticipate taking them out (of their rooms) this week, either." Coffman Nursing Home has 58 residents, Davis said. Of the 23 residents who have the flu, eight were being treated for upper-respiratory infections, she said. Several residents at the nursing home received flu shots this year, but the inoculations were not effective in all cases, Davis said. The Washington County Health Department was closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day. A spot check at some nursing homes in Washington County suggested the facilities weren't experiencing major flu outbreaks. Stephanie Alexander, assistant administrator at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village in Boonsboro, said she knew of only a few cases at that home. "It's the flu time of year" she said. "We've had no serious problems." Alexander said Fahrney-Keedy was taking special precautions, such as ensuring the residents are properly hydrated to ward off infections. Meg Cliber, marketing director at Williamsport Retirement Village, said she agreed that the flu is more apt to spread at this time of year. "You're lucky if it doesn't come into your (nursing) home," she said. "We haven't had a lot of cases, but we're taking precautions." Another nursing home refused to provide information. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, Maryland is among 44 states where widespread flu activity has been reported. Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman, said it's too early to tell whether this flu season will be worse than the last few years. "This is a pretty typical year," he said. "Activity has picked up late." Skinner said flu season probably would continue through March, and people should get a flu shot if they haven't done so already. Flu symptoms: · Fever · Headache · Tiredness (can be extreme) · Cough · Sore throat · Runny or stuffy nose · Body aches · Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults) If you get the flu: · Stay home. · Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. · There are over-the-counter (OTC) medications to relieve the symptoms of the flu (but never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever). · Remember that serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people including people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and young children. · Consult your doctor early for the best treatment, but also be aware of emergency warning signs that require urgent medical attention. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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