Whatcom County flu season is here! If you haven't gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now! It takes about two weeks after flu vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the virus infection.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms: fever or feeling feverish / chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (feeling very tired). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Learn more about the flu and it's key facts at the CDC's website.
Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs 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.
Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick. 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. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Clean your hands. 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. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Influenza Vaccination Recommendations for the 2020-2021 Flu Season
Given the concurrent COVID-19 pandemic, widespread use of Influenza vaccine is more important than ever. On Aug. 21, CDC released recommendations for immunization practices of seasonal influenza during the 2020-2021 season.
Widespread influenza vaccination prevents illness, complications, and mortality from influenza. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is especially important this year because it will help reduce overall hospitalizations, help maintain hospital capacity, and will help reduce school, work, and social disruption. The CDC recommends influenza vaccine for all people 6 months or older.Guidance for other specific populations can be found here.
People at higher risk for complications are encouraged to get vaccinated:
Children under age 5 (especially those under age 2).
People age 50 and older.
People with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, morbid obesity or other chronic health conditions.
People with immunosuppression.
Children on long-term aspirin therapy.
American Indians/Alaska Natives.
People with extreme obesity (BMI> 40).
Caregivers and household contacts of those at higher risk for complications.