This year’s flu season is severe and is expected to continue as late as April. The influenza virus is a contagious respiratory illness that is spread by respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing. It is typically more severe in the very young and older populations. Student Health Services has identified and treated students with type A and type B flu viruses this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that ALL persons 6 months of age and older be vaccinated for the flu annually. This is the best method of protection. It is still not too late to get a flu shot! The American Lung Association website has a great “Find a Flu Shot” tool in which to identify locations near you that may still have influenza immunizations available.
In addition, the CDC has outlined some helpful recommendations for flu prevention:
1. 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.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.