Columbia Urgent Care Clinics Begin to See Flu-Like Symptoms
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Health Department reported the first case of the flu for the 2013-14 season Tuesday.
Providence Urgent Care is one of several care facilities seeing more patients.
"A lot of viral syndrome, a lot of upper respiratory infections," said Jason Zerrer, MD and co-owner of Providence Urgent Care. "Traditionally this is when we see influenza show up."
Zerrer said while his clinic has not had positive flu tests over the past few weeks, they are starting to see something that looks a lot like influenza on a daily basis.
"It's time to get the flu shot," said Zerrer. "The flu shot takes approximately two weeks to become effective...it's definitely time to get the flu shot because you won't be protected from at least two weeks from now."
Missouri had more than 37,000 cases of positive flu tests during the 2012-13 flu season.
Zenner said for people trying to self-diagnose, the flu covers the full gamut of symptoms.
"Whether that be nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, body aches, headache, etcetera, especially with a fever, we really start being weary of influenza," he said.
Boone County Health Department spokesperson Andrea Waner said the flu season is very unpredictable. She said the time frame for contracting the flu usually falls between late August and April. Typically the highest number of cases occurs between September and March.
"Keep hands washed, keep close face-to-face interaction to a minimum, and keep your hands away from your face," Zerrer said.
Not all the patients were seen for sinus or respiratory infections Tuesday.
"I'm lucky and I don't have that yet," said Fulton-area patient, Kathy Earickson.
The Boone County Health Department and many clinics will continue to offer flu shots until demand ceases.