News release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:
Flu outbreak prompts push for preventive measures
To help curb the spread of the flu, health officials are encouraging people get the vaccine and to stay home if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
But that advice comes with some caveats.
While this year’s flu vaccine provides protection against the most prevalent flu strains that are circulating this year, it will not prevent you from contracting the viruses that causes the common cold or other respiratory illnesses.
And even if vaccinated, people still need to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently and strengthen their immune system by eating a healthy diet and getting eight hours of sleep a night to stay healthy.
This is shaping up to be one of the earliest flu seasons in years. Flu season usually peaks in February, but high flu rates have been reported across the country. So far, there have been 15 influenza-related deaths in Indiana, including two in Allen County.
Flu symptoms, such as fever, chills, body aches and dry cough, usually begin one to four days after a person has been exposed to the flu virus, but a person can be contagious even before having symptoms. People who are experiencing symptoms such as cough, runny nose or fever are asked to stay home from work, school or public places.
“The flu can be especially dangerous to the young, the elderly, and those with already compromised immune systems, so it is important that you do not expose people unnecessarily,” McMahan says.
Health officials say it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, pharmacies, urgent care clinics, and the local health department. There may be some locations that are temporarily low on vaccine supplies given the current demand and high level of activity.
“No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but a flu shot is still the best defense against getting and spreading the flu,” McMahan says.
For more information on flu prevention, go to www.fighttheflu.org.
Flu prevention measures
[li]Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water is not available.[/li]
[li]Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, rather than your hands, if a tissue is not available.[/li]
[li]Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others if you are ill. Try to avoid other people who are sick.[/li]
[li]Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.[/li]
Go to www.fighttheflu.org