Flu, Respiratory Illnesses On The Rise In Cowley County, Health Department Says


Influenza A, along with other respiratory illnesses, are surging throughout Cowley County, according to the City-Cowley County Health Department Tuesday.

The health department says it has received numerous reports from local health care providers of patients taking ill and experiencing high fever and severe upper respiratory distress.

Additionally, schools have also been reporting cases of influenza A in the student population. To complicate matters, there have been numerous co-infections reported including an infant testing positive for RSV and COVID and another child testing positive for influenza A and COVID.

“I know that people are tired of hearing about illness, but the situation is serious,” Cowley County Public Health Officer Thomas Langer said.  “What is happening currently is exactly what we were worried about a couple months ago. Namely, that these different illnesses, flu, RSV and COVID would manifest at the same time.”

The health department says members of the community need to take notice and take measures to protect themselves via the following recommendations:

• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and countertops.
• Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
• Avoid sharing utensils or drinks with others.

For influenza A, a flu shot will provide the best protection, the health department says. Even if you do become infected, flu shots are proven to lessen the severity of symptoms and the length of illness.

“Flu shots can take up to two weeks to provide you with needed protection, so the best time to get one is now,” the health department said Tuesday. “Contact the Health Department or a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.”

If you do become ill, the health department recommends doing the following:

• Seek medical care from your healthcare provider if your symptoms are severe.
• Get tested to determine which illness you may have.
• Stay home and recover fully before you return to your normal activities.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes. If you need to leave your home, wear a mask to help protect others.
• Use over-the-counter medicines to help manage symptoms.

“With the current surge in respiratory illness and the holidays approaching, we advise everyone to take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others,” the health department said.