ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO. (KTVI) – There was a new warning Wednesday about a big spike in flu cases in St. Louis and St. Charles counties: 50 new cases in four days in St. Charles County; 210 in a week in St. Louis County.
A spike in cases is normal. But there's nothing normal about those numbers.
DePaul Hospital in Bridgeton had hand sanitizer, even surgical masks next to warning signs about flu. The signs alerted visitors to wash up and even wear a mask, if they had flu symptoms but still 'had' to visit a loved one in the hospital.
Joanie Riesmeyer/Infection Prevention Specialist DePaul Hospital:
'Right now we`ve seen 210 cases of influenza 'B', 70% of these have been children under the age of 14,' said Joanie Riesmeyer, an infectious disease prevention specialist with DePaul SSM Health Center.
Brothers Mekhi Williams 4, and Jeremiah Williams, 2, of Jennings, could be added to the list. Mekhi was getting IV fluids at DePaul. Jeremiah was also showing flu symptoms: achiness, congestion, and the clincher: fever.
Their mother, Jwakeise Williams, said the big warning sign for her was that they`d stopped eating. Didn`t want anything but liquids; no solids, refused to eat solids. So I`m like, `you know what, something else is going on; something else is definitely going on`,' Mrs. Williams said. 'When he coughed, his chest, it was like, `ouch`, it hurt his chest...it progresses pretty fast. One day, he`s ok, a little runny nose. The next day he`s out of it; wiped out.'
She said Mekhi, even had a flu shot in September.
Experts say you should still get them. Parents should go also overboard wiping things down with disinfectant - like workers did in St. Francois County earlier this month, when the flu threatened to shut down schools; hand washing is critical, too.
'Obviously you`re talking to the wrong person, or the right person, hand washing is the single most important way of stopping the spread of any infection,' Riesmeyer said.
Though the spike was with influenza "B", she said he vaccine worked for both "A" & "B", the most common strains; it takes 2 weeks before it's fully effective.
She said the symptoms were the same, but little more severe and longer-lasting with the 'A' strain.
For more information on the Flu, click here.