Flu season in full swing, get immunized now!

Current surveillance data indicates that the influenza season is in full swing.

Below is a summary of these key indicators:

• Overall, influenza viruses are being detected more widely in the United States. Eight states reported widespread influenza activity (Alabama, Alaska, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina). This is twice the number of states that reported widespread influenza activity last week. Regional influenza activity was reported by 15 states (an increase from 7 states last week). Fifteen states reported local influenza activity.

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

There are 3 main ways to prevent the ‘Flu’.

1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.

• Anyone over the age of 6 month are recommended to have a flu vaccine.

• Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

• If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.

• Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

• Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors., treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

• Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu and how to care for someone at home who is sick with the flu.

 

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