FORT WAYNE, Ind. -– Health officials across the state of Indiana are seeing an increase in influenza like illnesses. Indiana has moved from sporadic influenza activity to now, widespread activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), circulating strains look to be Influenza A H3, which has caused severe symptoms and in some cases death in the elderly and the very young.
“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,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said, “It’s not too late to get a flu shot if you haven’t already.”
Flu viruses spread in respiratory droplets when infected people cough and sneeze. The virus becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. It can also spread when a person touches an object that has been contaminated with droplets and then touches their own mouth or nose before washing their hands.
Symptoms of influenza resemble those of a cold, but come on quickly and are more pronounced. A person with the flu may experience fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
For the vast majority of people, the flu is a mild illness that lasts only a few days and doesn’t require any serious treatment. Some people get much sicker and may even need to be hospitalized. Those most at risk for serious illness include people over age 65, young children, pregnant women and anyone with serious long-term health problems.
Flu prevention tips:
- 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, errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover your cough: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Wash your hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water aren’t 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/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 foods.
You can get your influenza vaccination at many local pharmacies, schedule an appointment at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Dept. of Health Medical Annex or visit your primary care provider’s office.
SOURCE: Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health