Update: Flu activity continues to increase in Clark County
LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District continues to report increased flu activity in Clark County. Since October, there have been a total of 238 confirmed influenza cases with one reported death in an adult over the age of 65; at the same time last year, there were 125 confirmed cases with 11 deaths. The number of hospitalizations this flu season is also higher with 184 versus 90 at this time last year. Flu season activity typically peaks in January and February, and the Health District recommends flu shots for everyone over the age of 6 months old who has not yet received one. Flu shots are available at Health District flu clinics. For locations and more information call (702) 759-0850 or visit SNHD.info.
“Although we can’t fully assess the severity of the flu season until late spring, an increase in flu activity signifies that there are many people becoming ill in our community. This year, we are also seeing an increase in the number of flu-related hospitalizations among all age groups,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “It is important that everyone takes steps to stay healthy during flu season including getting a flu shot and practicing good hygiene, like handwashing,” It takes approximately two weeks after vaccination for full protection to set in. Flu vaccination reduces flu illnesses and can prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
The Health District encourages everyone to get flu vaccinations, especially people at high-risk of complications from the flu including children younger than 5 (children younger than 2 years old are at highest risk), adults 65 years of age and older, and pregnant women.
To date, the Health District has received reports of illness associated with Influenza A strains which might be found to cause more serious illness in people at risk for complications. Influenza B strains sometimes circulate later in the season. Flu viruses cause substantial illness and death in the United States, much of which could be prevented with vaccination and other preventive measures.
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Tips to stay healthy:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. States are not required to report individual seasonal influenza cases or deaths of people older than 18 years of age, and seasonal flu is infrequently listed on death certificates of people who die from flu-related complications. Many seasonal flu-related deaths occur one or two weeks after a person’s initial infection. The ill person may develop a secondary infection, such as bacterial pneumonia, or the flu may aggravate an existing medical condition, such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The CDC estimates that from the 1976-77 season to the 2006-2007 season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of approximately 3,000 to a high of about 49,000. Estimates are made using both death certificate and weekly influenza virus surveillance information.