TRAVERSE CITY — If you don't have the flu yet, get a vaccine.
If you think you have the flu, visit your doctor's office or an urgent care center instead of the emergency room.
And if you know you have the flu, stay home to avoid exposing others.
That's the message local health care providers are trying to convey in light of an increasing number of influenza cases.
Munson Medical Center's Emergency Department is reporting high numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms, making for long waits and putting other patients at risk for exposure. In response, the hospital is encouraging residents to go to their own physician or an urgent care center if they think they need treatment.
Donna Rinker, a family nurse practitioner at Bayside Docs Urgent Care Clinic, said the clinic has been giving 30 or 40 flu vaccines a day but still has seen multiple influenza cases daily for almost three weeks. For every 10 patients tested, eight test positive, she said.
"We're seeing influenza strain A, B and both A and B," she said. "We tell our patients that if we suspect influenza or it's confirmed, they need to be out of the public for seven days after the illness onset or 24 hours after the end of a fever."
The Grand Traverse County Health Department is monitoring flu in the area and talking to pharmacies to make sure they have anti-viral medications like Tamiflu, which can lessen the severity of symptoms, said Wendy Trute, the department's health officer.
"We've definitely noticed this year there's more cases we've seen in the database than we've seen in the past and that's an indicator that there's more influenza out there," she said.
But having flu-like symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you have the flu, experts caution.
"We get a report weekly from the Munson lab when flu tests are done," said Michael Collins, medical director for the Grand Traverse County and Benzie-Leelanau District Health Departments. "In the most recent report, only 15 percent of those tests are positive. That's still a significant number, but that means the majority of people who look like they have flu in our area seems not to have it. It gives the impression that there are other flu-like illnesses in our area."
Suttons Bay Elementary School had eight students out on Friday and about half the absences are flu-related, said principal Roger Arvo. At Eastern Elementary School in Traverse City, that number may be much higher.
"We do have a situation where we have about 40 students out and we are in the process of making calls to try to learn what they are out ill with," said Traverse City Area Public Schools associate superintendent Jayne Mohr. "I do not have confirmation yet in terms of what is happening there. We did an extra cleaning in that school last night and we have more cleaning scheduled for this weekend."
Amy Braun, medical assistant for Student Health Services at Northwestern Michigan College, said her department won't open to students until Monday, but has already run out of flu vaccine.
"We went through 250 doses and we just ordered another 50. Those were spoken for since yesterday," she said. "And that's just for staff."
GT health officer Trute said her department will offer flu shots by appointment next week, but that some pharmacies are running out of the vaccine.
People who get a flu shot should know that it takes about two weeks to kick in, said Collins.
Those who do get ill should take care not to expose others by taking proper preventive measures like covering their noses and mouths when they cough or sneeze and staying home from school or work, he said.
"All those people that think they're indispensable to or for someone should know that people prefer that you don't expose them," he said.
TRAVERSE CITY — If you don't have the flu yet, get a vaccine.
Arts & Entertainment in Brief 04/18/2014
Fairy Garden fun; environmental documentary; benefit for ISLAND; New Opera Project premiere; and more.Continued ...
Community in Brief 04/18/2014
Gathering for women named Linda; Wings of Wonder program; Small Plates on the Leelanau Wine Trail; and more.Continued ...
Night Life 04/18/2014
Entertainment in the region.Continued ...
Prep Sports Scoreboard: 04/11/2014
A roundup of prep sports results from across northern Michigan:
GT Academy founder faces bank fraud, tax evasion charges
Grand Traverse Academy co-founder Steven Ingersoll faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and tax violations, accusations that publicly surfaced about a month after the school severed ties with his management company.Continued ...
Editorial: Recent BATA changes put accountability first
The Bay Area Transportation Authority is undergoing some needed accountability changes that should improve service to some while rewarding others for playing by the rules.Continued ...
TCL&P resists coal dock pressure
Traverse City Light & Power board members withstood heavy lobbying and allegations of closed-door maneuvering from influential local groups to place the $2.68 million coal dock property’s future in the hands of the city’s elected representatives.Continued ...
New zombie flick set in northern Michigan
Most days Brian Dawson is a mild-mannered veterinarian. Others he’s a flesh-eating zombie.Continued ...
Derrer to play at Syracuse
Dakota Derrer won’t have to be one of the boys anymore. But now she’ll have to resist the urge to hit like one.Continued ...
Career Kickstart kicks off today
Job seekers can get free professional clothing and lots of advice on resumes and interview skills at an event today at Northwestern Michigan College.Continued ...
High schools among most challenging in U.S., state
Local students have the opportunity to attend two of the most challenging high schools in the nation, based on the Washington Post’s annual rankings.Continued ...
School gets ATM
TBA Credit Union installed an automated teller machine at Traverse City West Senior High School.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/11/2014
Enabling the homeless.Continued ...
TBAYS set to celebrate silver anniversary
Fred Haines had a vision. He also had passion and determination. And on any given day in the spring or fall, if you gaze out at the expanse of soccer fields at the Keystone Road Soccer Complex and see hundreds of kids kicking balls around, you are able to see it all spring to life.Continued ...
NMC administrator off to China for student recruitment
A Northwestern Michigan College administrator is off on another trip to China with hopes of recruiting high school students from Beijing to enroll at NMC their senior year.Continued ...
The Record: 04/11/2014
Assumed names filed in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Life after 'The Voice': Maloney out but not down following cut
Ryan Whyte Maloney is out but he isn’t down. The Traverse City native and “The Voice” contestant was cut from the show Tuesday after making it to the top 20 on Monday.Continued ...
Forum: TC can't get bed tax, visitors centers can
I am writing to comment on the March 29 Another View: “Local tax a local windfall” about Franklin County in New York state seeking state approval to impose a bed tax on hotels and motels in that county, and your Online Poll question asking readers whether such a tax is a good idea.Continued ...
Kalkaska's Will Noble headed to the next level
This season Will Noble took his game to another level. That’s allowed him to take his game to the next level.Continued ...
Building Permits: 04/11/2014
Building permits issued in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Saturday festival all about dirt and Earth
Mara Penfil likes dirt. She likes to remind people that leaves fall from trees and turn into dirt, mushrooms grow in dirt, all kinds of organisms make a home in dirt.Continued ...
Bums add Wrenn, Rossi to infield
The Traverse City Beach Bums added to an already fairly loaded infield by signing shortstop Taylor Wrenn and infielder Drew Rossi.Continued ...
Weekend in Brief: 04/11/2014
Celebration for Pete Seeger; OTP Studio Theatre stages police drama; Dirt Fest; and more.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Morgan, Cvengros pitch Glads to sweep
Gabby Morgan pitched a two-hit shutout as St. Francis blanked Benzie Central 10-0 in the opener of a non-league doubleheader Thursday. (Plus more)Continued ...
Movie Capsules: 04/11/2014
New this week — Draft Day: At the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams. Rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references. (HOR)Continued ...
- Arts & Entertainment in Brief 04/18/2014