The flu is an illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each fall. The vaccine is available for those 6 months of age and older..
“We know the flu vaccine isn’t perfect and doesn’t protect people 100% of the time,” states Laura Sauve, Barron County Health Officer. “It does help prevent illness about 40% of the time and helps prevents severe illness and hospitalization. It is the best thing we have right now.”
People sick with the flu spread it directly to others through droplets or through objects they have touched. Droplets from the nose and throat of sick people have the flu virus in them. When people with the flu cough or sneeze, those droplets can be breathed in by people around them or land on objects around them.
“If more people received the flu vaccine we would reduce illness in our community,” continued Sauve. “Flu vaccinations protect not only the person but babies, people at higher risk of severe illness, and others who cannot receive the flu vaccine. Vaccination is important.”
Influenza usually starts with a sudden onset of cough, fatigue, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, and a fever. As with any illness, there may be differences in the symptoms from one person to the next.
Please take precautions to help you and your loved ones stay healthy:
Wash your hands
- Wet your hands, lather with soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry your hands. Wash your hands often.
Get a flu shot
- It is recommended that those 6 months and older receive a yearly flu shot. Contact your health provider, pharmacy, or Barron County Public Health at 715-537-5691, ext. 6442 for more information on flu shots.
Stay home when sick
- This helps stop the spread of illness to others. This also allows time for you to rest and recover from your symptoms.
Cover your cough
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow area. Be sure to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
Some people are at higher risk for serious complications from the flu. Those include younger children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with certain medical conditions. Antiviral medication is recommended for some people with the flu. Please consult with your medical provider to find out if you should receive this medication.
To learn more about the flu visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm