The rate of influenza is hitting our community hard this week, but no one wants it. To help you and your family avoid getting sick (or spreading the illness), make sure everyone is following these tips.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer.
- Cough/sneeze into your bent arm (inside elbow) or a tissue.
- After using a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands well or use hand sanitizer if available.
- Avoid being around people who are sick if possible.
- Don’t visit others if you are not feeling well.
- Stay home from work and school if you are ill.
- Do not return to work or school until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
Even with the flu season underway, “it is not too late to get a flu shot,” said Nurse Practioner Amy Brandt, “there is still time for people to protect themselves against influenza.” It takes 14 days for antibodies to develop, so the earlier you get the vaccine, the earlier you are protected. The flu season usually peaks in January or February and ends in April so it will be here for a while.
If the viruses in the vaccine are not closely matched against the circulating strains, the vaccine can still make the illness milder and prevent more serious flu-related complications. The most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year.