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February 7, 2017

DOH Provides Flu Season Tips

It’s that time again…Flu Season! Flu activity peaks between December and March and can last as late as May. Those who are at higher risk for developing flu related complications are children younger than 5, adults who are 65 and older, pregnant women and people with asthma and chronic lung diseases. People with diabetes and heart disease should also take special care to stay safe from infection.

Influenza can be diagnosed with a test but symptoms are usually include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes, usually in children, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Flu is rarely an emergency but doctors say to get kids to an emergency room fast if they have these symptoms:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing

Adults need immediate medical help if they have:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness or confusion
  • Severe vomiting

Especially dangerous is if people have flu-like symptoms, seem to get better, and then symptoms return. That could indicate a second infection and needs quick treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several steps to fighting the flu: 

Get vaccinated! Vaccination is the most important way to prevent the spread of the flu. For additional information about seasonal flu vaccine priorities, see Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

Stay at home if you are sick. The CDC recommends that workers who have a fever and respiratory symptoms stay at home until 24 hours after their fever ends (100 degrees Fahrenheit [37.8 degrees Celsius] or lower), without the use of medication. Not everyone who has the flu will have a fever. Other symptoms could include a runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.

Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve(s). Throw tissues into a "no-touch" wastebasket.

Clean your hands after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

When using soap and water, rub soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds, rinse hands with water, and dry completely.

If soap and water are not available, use of an alcohol-based hand rub is a helpful interim measure until hand washing is possible. When using an alcohol-based hand rub, apply liquid to palm of hand, cover all surfaces of the hands with the liquid, and rub hands together until dry.

Keep frequently touched common surfaces (e.g., telephones, computer equipment, etc.) clean.

Try not to use a coworker's phone, desk, office, computer, or other work tools and equipment.

If you must use a coworker’s equipment, consider cleaning it first with a disinfectant.

Avoid shaking hands or coming in close contact with coworkers and others who may be ill.

Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and relaxation.

Speak with your doctor and find out if you are in a high-risk category for seasonal flu (e.g., elderly, pregnant women, small children, persons with asthma, etc.).



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