The Perspective
   
OCTOBER 2016

Three Steps to Fight the Flu

1 - Get Vaccinated.

Flu ShotsEvery year the Southern Nevada Health District reminds the public that the best way to prepare for the upcoming flu season is to get a yearly flu vaccine. This season, the Health District is offering the traditional flu shot for the general population, and the high-dose vaccine recommended for people age 65 and over.

Ideally, everyone 6-months and older, who has not had any previous adverse reaction to the flu vaccine should be immunized by the end of October. However, the vaccine can still be offered late in the flu season to unvaccinated individuals, and later is better than never. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of complications from the flu including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older. Because children younger than 6 months are at high risk for serious illness but too young to be vaccinated, the people who care for them should be vaccinated.

 

2 - Stop the Spread of Germs.

Flu Shots When possible, limit your exposure to people who are sick. If you get sick, stay home. If you have flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, headache, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) except to get medical care or for other necessities.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash each time you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are easily spread this way. Soap and water are always preferable for hand-washing, but if not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

 

3 - Take Antiviral Drugs if Prescribed.

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics and if you get the flu they can be used to treat your illness. Antivirals are not available over-the-counter and must be prescribed by a physician. A prescription for antiviral flu drugs works best when started within two days of getting sick, but it can still be helpful if started later. Antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the duration of the illness, and can be especially beneficial for a person who is at high risk for complications from the flu.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect others one day before symptoms of the flu develop and up to five or seven days after becoming sick. Young children and people with weakened immune systems might be able to infect others for longer periods of time. For more information on the flu and prevention tips, visit the CDC website.

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