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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's Flu Season

From our friends at the Cowlitz County Health Department:
It is officially flu season in Cowlitz County. The Daily News did a story today on how we are seeing an uptick in seasonal flu locally, as well as state-wide, and nationally (Boston and New York have declared emergencies because of how many people are sick and the surge on healthcare). Below are some facts about seasonal flu and websites for reference. The Health and Human Services Department would like all employees to know these facts about seasonal flu.

Seasonal Flu Facts:
• Seasonal Influenza (flu) spreads easily from person-to-person thru uncovered coughs and sneezes. The flu can spread to others before a person knows they're sick.

• It is important to cover all coughs and sneezes and to wash your hands with hot water and soap and/or use hand sanitizer on a regular basis.

o Tip: Covering coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow instead of your hands limits the amount of potential virus on your hands. Practicing good “respiratory etiquette” can help limit transmission of the flu from person to person.

o If you do have symptoms of the flu it is important to stay home until your symptoms have passed and call your doctor if needed. Staying home while sick limits you sharing your illness with others and limits your exposure to other illness while your body is trying to recover.

• Getting the seasonal flu vaccine not only helps protect you against getting the seasonal flu but also helps protect those around you. The more people who get vaccinated the harder it is for the flu to spread within our communities from person to person.

o Fact: The best protection for those people who cannot get the vaccine because of pre-existing medical conditions or allergies to vaccine is for those they come in contact with to have been vaccinated.

• Flu vaccine is safe for the majority of people to receive. The seasonal flu shot can be given to anyone six months and older and you are encouraged to do so if you have not already this fall/winter season.

• The flu shot contains inactivated (killed) viruses. You can not get the flu from the flu shot because the virus is not alive. Your arm might be a little sore afterward but you cannot get the flu from the flu shot.

• It’s not too late to get vaccinated. You can get flu vaccine from your local healthcare provider and/or through a local pharmacy. Contact your doctor’s office or a local pharmacy to see when they offer flu vaccine.

Check out the Washington State's Department of Health Flu Overview:

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