Don’t spread the flu!
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue, or sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
- Help prevent the flu by getting your vaccine!
The 2017-2018 flu (influenza) season was one of the deadliest with 48.8 million reported cases and 79,400 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annually, mortality is about 6,515.
“Because flu evolves from year to year, it can be extremely hard to build immunity,” said Beverly Ramey, NP, family nurse practitioner at Mission Community Primary Care – Highlands.
That’s why getting the flu vaccine is so important, especially for at-risk populations — babies, children and older adults. A nasal mist is also available for certain groups.
How It Spreads
Flu spreads easily from person-to-person up to six feet apart when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Water droplets carrying the virus reach another person’s eyes, nose or mouth to spread the disease. The virus can also live on surfaces for up to 24 hours.
“What makes flu so serious is that it causes respiratory distress and can lead to pneumonia,” said Ramey.
Certain groups are harder hit by flu, such as babies, those 65 or older with conditions like COPD and diabetes, those with chronic conditions like asthma, and pregnant women.
Body aches, fever or chills, congestion and cough are telltale signs of flu. “More serious complications include pneumonia or respiratory distress or kidney failure. Gastrointestinal symptoms are rare,” said Ramey.
Preventing the Flu
Get vaccinated. With the vaccine, your risk of getting the flu decreases. If you do get it, it will be less severe, and you’ll help protect those who can’t get the vaccine, like babies under 6 months old.
Beverly Ramey, NP, is a family nurse practitioner at Mission Community Primary Care – Highlands.