The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that influenza (flu) activity in the U.S. has increased significantly over recent weeks with influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominating so far this season. In the past, A(H3N2) virus-predominant influenza seasons have been associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older and young children compared to other age groups. Symptoms of the flu can vary from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).
What can be done to reduce the risk of infection or reduce the severity of symptoms?
The CDC recommends that to protect against the flu, the first and most important thing you can do is to get a flu vaccine for yourself and your child. Vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. It is still early in the flu season, so it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. The peak of flu season occurs in late December until early March 2018. Contact your medical provider regarding the vaccine. Miami-Dade County Public Schools partnered with Healthy Schools, LLC in the “Teach Flu a Lesson” campaign during the 2017-2018 school year. More than 10,000 students and 341 faculty staff received a FREE flu vaccine at their designated school site.
The CDC recommends the following additional actions to prevent the spread of the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If anyone in your home is sick with flu-like illness, try to keep him or her in a separate room from others in the household, if possible.
- Anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay home for at least 24 hours after his or her fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Contact your medical provider if the fever continues after 24 hours.
Fight the flu / add one
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after it has been used.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, including bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters and toys for children. Clean by wiping them down with a household disinfectant according to directions on the product label.
The CDC website contains additional resources and information: cdc.gov/flu/index.htm