Quantcast

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>>

  • Police: Men used stolen cards on thousands of dollars in purchases

    Police: Men used stolen cards on thousands of dollars in purchases

    Saturday, August 23 2014 9:48 AM EDT2014-08-23 13:48:46 GMT
    Police in Chittenden County have caught two men from Brooklyn who they say used stolen credit card numbers to buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff.
    Police in Chittenden County have caught two men from Brooklyn who they say used stolen credit card numbers to buy thousands of dollars worth of stuff.
  • Destination Recreation: Clark's Trading Post

    Destination Recreation: Clark's Trading Post

    Saturday, August 23 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-08-23 13:28:18 GMT
    Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire has attracted millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1928. While famous for its bear shows, it offers a whole lot more.
    Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire has attracted millions of visitors since opening its doors in 1928. While famous for its bear shows, it offers a whole lot more.

  • At Issue: Keeping up with kids' vaccinations

    At Issue: Keeping up with kids' vaccinations

    Saturday, August 23 2014 9:21 AM EDT2014-08-23 13:21:43 GMT
    It's about time to send kids back to school, and if you're a parent, chances are you've gotten a note reminding you to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccinations.
    It's about time to send kids back to school, and if you're a parent, chances are you've gotten a note reminding you to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccinations.
  • Teaching the notes of tango in Stowe

    Teaching the notes of tango in Stowe

    Saturday, August 23 2014 9:13 AM EDT2014-08-23 13:13:32 GMT
     The hills of Stowe were alive this week with the sound of music -- Argentine Tango music. We sent Cat Viglienzoni to check it out.
     The hills of Stowe were alive this week with the sound of music -- Argentine Tango music. We sent Cat Viglienzoni to check it out.
  • Burglary suspects caught

    Burglary suspects caught

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:18 AM EDT2014-08-23 04:18:38 GMT
    Vermont State Police nabbed a pair of suspected burglars and believe they're linked to several other crimes.
    Vermont State Police nabbed a pair of suspected burglars and believe they're linked to several other crimes.
  • Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Sen. Jim Jeffords laid to rest

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:12 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:12:17 GMT
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
    Sen. Jim Jeffords was one of Vermont's beloved public servants, with a career that took him from the hills of Shrewsbury to the U.S. Senate. Friday, in his hometown of Rutland, James Jeffords was laid to rest.
  • Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague?

    Is it safe to move accused killer Elizabeth Teague?

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:09 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:09:17 GMT
    The Vt. Dept. of Mental Health says scarce resources are part of the push to relocate alleged workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague to a facility with fewer regulations. Elizabeth Keatinge was at Friday's hearing.
    The Vt. Dept. of Mental Health says scarce resources are part of the push to relocate alleged workplace shooter Elizabeth Teague to a facility with fewer regulations. Elizabeth Keatinge was at Friday's hearing.
  • Police investigate death of 13-year-old in Hardwick

    Police investigate death of 13-year-old in Hardwick

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:10:40 GMT
    Investigators say a teen was found dead at a home in Hardwick Friday morning.
    Investigators say a teen was found dead at a home in Hardwick Friday morning.
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.