There is still time to get your flu vaccine
DOUGLAS COUNTY – Getting vaccinated is your best protection against influenza.
Flu season started a little late this year and Sky Ridge Medical Center wants everyone to know that the best way to be protected against influenza is to get a flu vaccine... and there’s still time. Flu vaccine supplies are plentiful and available in many locations such as your doctor’s office, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments. And, even if the vaccine does not prevent fully, it will still lessen symptoms.
“The best way to help avoid getting the flu is to get a flu vaccine,” said Dr. David Markenson, Chief Medical Officer at Sky Ridge Medical Center and Chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “Everyone six months of age or older should get a flu vaccine, especially pregnant women, those younger than five and age 50 or older, those with certain chronic medical conditions, people in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, health care workers, and teachers and those who care for or are in contact with children less than 6 months age who cannot be vaccinated themselves.”
In addition to getting vaccinated, the Red Cross has some simple steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu. Parents can also practice these things with their kids to help keep them well:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water is not available use an alcohol based hand-rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- How does someone know they have the flu? The common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children).
- If someone in your household does come down with the flu, here is the best way to care for them:
- Designate one person as the caregiver and have people in the house avoid close contact so they won’t become sick.
- Make sure the person stays at home (until 24 hours after the fever is gone) and rests.
- Designate a sick room for the person if possible. If there is more than one sick person, they can share the sick room if needed. If you have more than one bathroom, have sick people use one bathroom and well people use the other one. Give each sick person their own drinking glass, washcloth and towel.
- Keep either in the sick room or near the person – tissues, trash can with lid and lined with a plastic trash bag, alcohol-based hand rub, cooler or pitcher with ice and drinks, cup with straw or squeeze bottle to help with drinking, thermometer, humidifier (this extra moisture can make it easier for the sick person to breathe), facemasks (sick people should wear a facemask if available when they leave the sick room or are around other people).
- Give plenty of liquids (water and other clear liquids) at the first sign of flu and continue throughout illness to prevent fluid loss (dehydration). Sick people with the flu need to drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.
- Treat fever and cough with medicines you can buy at the store. Remember, when ill, children should never be given aspirin or aspirin containing products – especially with the flu.
- If the person gets very sick, is pregnant or has a medical condition that puts him or her at higher risk of flu complications such as asthma, call the doctor. Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothing, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless cleaned between uses.
- Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
- Wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher or by hand using very hot water and soap.
- Wash everyone’s clothes in a standard washing machine as you normally would. Use detergent and very hot water, tumble dry.
For more information, visit www.skyridgemedcenter.com.