Flu Facts:What YOU Need to Know to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season
There is a universal truth all can attest to: feeling under-the-weather is not at all fun. Not only are you alternating between having a runny or a clogged sink for a nose, feverish, achy, and possibly throwing up, but you are also forced to miss out on work/school and other planned activities. Your mandatory ‘To-Do’ list is suddenly put on hold and you are forced to lie in bed, wondering what it would feel like to stand up without the world spinning. With the current excitement that always and accompanies the approaching holiday season, there is also an underlying sense of dread for what insists on coming with: flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has three actions you can take today to help minimize your risk and fight the flu now.
#1. Get you annual flu vaccine. This is proven to be the most effective way to minimize your symptoms, if not avoid the flu all together. It is recommended everyone 6 months of age and older (except those with egg allergies) get the vaccine as soon as they are available. It is especially important those with high risk receive the vaccine; that includes young children; pregnant woman; people with chronic health conditions such as heart or lung disease, asthma, or diabetes; people over the age of 65; and health care works, or those who live with or care for high risk people. Getting the simple flu vaccine can reduce illness, missed work or school, doctors; visits, and help prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
#2. Stop the spread of germs. Do what you can to avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands often with soap and water whenever possible, or use hand sanitizer when not. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands—these are common entry points for germs. Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces frequently. If you do contract the flu or flu-like symptoms, limit your contact with others to keep from infecting them. The CDC recommends you stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (except seeking medical care) to reduce risk of spreading. Make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, then immediately throw tissue in trash after use.
#3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medication and not available over-the-counter. They can make an illness less severe and shorten the amount of time you spend sick. Antiviral drugs can also help prevent flu complications and can be the difference between a mild illness or a trip to the hospital. Flu antiviral drugs are best if started within 2 days of getting sick, but can still be helpful after. Make sure to follow your primary care provider’s instructions for taking any drugs.
It's not too late to get vaccinated! Use these three simple tips so you and your family can enjoy holiday season to the fullest this year.
Find out where you can get vaccinated in your area:
Whooping Cough Outbreak in Utah
"Pertussis vaccination remains the single-most effective strategy for prevention of infection and for protection of infants and others at high risk."
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1,033 cases of whooping cough were reported in Utah during the year 2013--nearly 5 times the national rate and the high rates of cases have continued into 2014. Whooping cough is highly contagious spreading through coughing or sneezing, and it can be fatal in infants and young children. Symptoms appear to be a prolonged cough in adults and older children, and they may unknowingly spread whooping cough to others.
Infants are often infected by parents, caregivers, or older siblings. Pertussis (whoooping cough) vaccination is the best thing you can do to protect your children, yourself, and prevent the spread of whooping cough. Make certain people around the infants and children in your family have received a recent booster vaccination for whopping cough called Tdap, whether they are parents, grandparents, siblings, or other friends and family.
In response to the increased rates of whooping cough, Utah County Health Department is able to offer Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis) vaccine for $15.00 to individuals who are 19 years of age or older that are uninsured or underinsured. Click here for more information.