Flu virus can be deadly for those with pre-existing health conditions

OZARK, Mo. There are many worries right now about the spread of disease. Many people concerned about the coronavirus outbreak making it to the United States.

Medical experts say that's not the only dangerous illness we should be concerned about.

We're only about 5 months into the flu season according to the Center for Disease Control. So far there have been 29 million reports of the illness, 280,000 people have been hospitalized and 16,000 have died.

For one Ozarks family the seriousness of this infectious disease is all too real.

"A lot of people don't take the flu very seriously and I think that's a real shame. It's a lot more likely that people are going to catch the flu then they are going to catch the coronavirus," said Chelsea Cantrell.

She is closely monitoring her husband Jake's flu symptoms.

She said, "Because he has Multiple Sclerosis we have to deal with these scary instances a lot."

Due to his treatment and compromised immune system, she said that once he gets sick, there's no time to waste.

"Even when those first symptoms show up we knew right away that it was something to be alarmed about," she explained.

He was immediately taken to the hospital a to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation.

"Two days ago he was fine. From the moment the symptoms onset he went down really hard. He was in the military so I think that attitude, is just kind of like, I will just take everything in stride and go with it as it comes. "I think I'm handling it better than outwardly than I am internally but it is, it is really scary," she said.

"Everybody's body is different and how it will react to the flu. It depends really on your health status, your age if you have any comorbidities and that kind of thing, explained registered nurse, Cindy Edwards.

She said that the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot.

"People think that if the strain of flu that they have is different from the strain that's in the vaccination that they will have no protection but that is actually not accurate," said Edwards.

This small step in preventing the spread of the illness could save someone like Jake Cantrell.

"Whatever you're doing you might feel like you're doing what's best for you but you really got to think about the bigger picture here and who you might be exposing that might not be able to fight this off as easily as you," said Chelsea Cantrell.

Other ways to prevent spreading the disease include washing your hands and using hand sanitizer. Also, coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Most importantly, see a doctor right away and stay home if you're sick.

Read the original version of this article at www.kspr.com.