Flu season taking its toll - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Flu season taking its toll

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Jeffrey Smith is happy he is able to meet his brother for lunch.  One month ago the 45-year-old put off going to the doctor for a chest cold. By the time he did go to the hospital he was a very sick man.

"They wanted to check me in over night as a patient and I didn't have time for that, so I checked myself out and had my younger brother take me home. And on the way he told me some of the symptoms the doctors described to him that I was not aware of and made me aware that it probably was more serious than I thought," Smith said. So Smith returned to Fletcher Allen Health Care that night and was admitted.

Reporter Judy Simpson: And its a good thing you did.

Jeffrey Smith: Very much so -- I learned later that I had full blown pneumonia and H1N1 flu virus, which probably would not have let me last through the night.

Smith was in the hospital for almost a month.

Reporter Judy Simpson: So you went into the hospital January 6th. What is the next thing that you remember?"

Jeffrey Smith: I woke up around the 17th of January. The doctors had told me that they had to induce a coma and put me on a respirator in order to essentially dry out my lungs from the symptoms of pneumonia -- and it was probably the worse case they had ever seen.

Doctors told Jeffrey's family he had about a one in five chance of surviving. While Smith's was an extreme case, the H1N1 virus is hitting younger people hard this year. "H1N1 -- which is the predominant flu virus circulating this season and has been the last couple of years -- does make younger people especially really sick, so people in their 20's 30's or 40's who are otherwise healthy can get H1N1 and get pretty sick. It's also especially risky for pregnant women," said The Vermont Health Department's Patsy  Kelso.

Health authorities say we are in the height of flu season. Not only are they seeing the H1N1 virus, but they are also seeing the Norovirus, which is a nasty stomach bug that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. "Norovirus circulates this time of year. Every year it can go through schools or child care facilities or long term care facilities and causes outbreaks where lots of people get it," Kelso said. "It can go through households pretty quickly and we do see it every year -- unfortunately it's pretty common."

There is no vaccine for Norovirus. The best prevention is to wash your hands a lot, especially before handling food.  But it's still not too late to get vaccinated for the H1N1 flu -- something Smith says he will now do every year.  "I will during the cold and flu season. I will definitely get a flu shot from now on," he said.

And there is still plenty of vaccine available. Kelso says flu season could last another two to three months.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:43:47 GMT
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:04 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
  • Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
  • A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:36 GMT
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
  • Gun fired into New Haven home

    Gun fired into New Haven home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:48 GMT
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
  • What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:57:35 GMT
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
  • Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in connection with a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
  • Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:36 GMT
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer. More >>
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.