Viral infections sweep across Kern County

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Two Kern County residents have died from the flu.

Doctors stress that if you have not yet gotten the flu shot, you should as soon as possible.

And it doesn't stop with the flu. Doctors are saying that hospitals across the county are flooded with people suffering from upper respiratory infections.

William Dietz thought his son Ryan had the flu, but after a visit to the doctor - he learned his 9-year-old was suffering from a typical upper respiratory viral infection and not one of the influenza strains health officials are warning about.

If it seems like there's a lot of sick people at your workplace or school, you are right.
That's the bad news. The good news is that doctors say these people should recover without medical intervention.

"There is a wide variety of upper respiratory infections that we've been having. Predominantly, most of them are viral infections," said Memorial Hospital ER doctor Kian Azimian.

Dr. Azimian stresses that the flu, which is also viral, will feel much worse than an average respiratory infection. Just Tuesday, the Kern County Public Health Services Department announced that two local residents -- a 30-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman -- died from the flu. The H1N1 strain was confirmed for the younger woman and is suspected in the other, but has yet to be confirmed.

"Most of the time if you have the flu, you're feeling pretty miserable. It affects most of the body. So you'll have the muscle-aches, fevers, feeling pretty miserable," said Dr. Azimian.

If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, especially with a fever higher than 100-degrees, you are urged to see a doctor.