St. Louis County offering free back-to-school immunizations

(AP Photo)

O'FALLON, Mo.,( KMOV.com)-- Masks are on and hand sanitizer is flowing like water in St. Charles County. There are 3,200 confirmed positive cases of influenza in St. Charles County so far this season, which started on October 1, 2017. Compared to this time last year, there was 500 confirmed cases.

“It's been really bad. We're seeing lots of flu and lots of kids get hospitalized because of the flu,” said Dr. Lauren Rogowski, a pediatrician at Progress West Hospital. She’s blaming this surge in flu on the specific strain. “We're seeing a lot of H3N2 which is a pretty nasty virus,” said Rogowski,

Of the positive cases of the flu this year, 40% of the patients did not get the vaccine, 20% did get vaccinated and 32% are unknown. “We're not positive why the flu vaccine is not as effective as we were hoping, but it should still be giving some protection,” said Rogowski, “You can decrease risks of complications from the flu.”

Paramedics are the first line of defense against the flue and they’ve been busy picking up patients with flu-like symptoms daily in St. Charles County. “We are experiencing a surge in call volume,” said Kyle Gaines, with the St. Charles County Ambulance District. To keep paramedic staff healthy while meeting the high volume of flu cases is an ultra violet ray light that hangs inside the back of the ambulance. “What the UVC light is doing is acting as an extreme sterilizer,” said Gaines.

Paramedics keep drawers open inside the ambulance to make sure the light hits every surface. “It helps keep a sterile environment for our patients and also keeps our staff safe as well,” said Gaines.

St. Charles County says the highest number of flu cases is being contracted by children under the age of 4 and adults over the age of 65.

According to the CDC, flu symptoms include feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore through, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

News 4 Reporter

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