Watonwan County Public Health is asking the public’s help to reduce the spread of the flu and reminded people that it’s not too late to receive a flu shot.
“Significant increases in flu activity in the U.S. in the last three weeks indicate that an early flu season is underway,” says Rich Collins, Watonwan County Public Health Director. “We urge everyone to get a flu vaccine now if you have not done so already this season. Vaccination is especially important for children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes and other long-term conditions who are at high risk from flu complications.”
Since the start of the influenza season, no influenza-related deaths have been reported in Minnesota, however more than 70 people have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, and 18 outbreaks of influenza-like illness (ILI) in Minnesota schools have been reported.
“Getting a flu shot is one of the most effective ways each of us can avoid getting the flu and spreading the illness to others,” says Rich Collins. “Supplies of the flu vaccine are plentiful and readily available from your local health care provider or other consumer outlets, including many pharmacies.”
Officials remind the public, in addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine; there are other steps everyone can take to prevent contracting and spreading the flu. They include:
Cover your cough
Wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
If you aren’t feeling well, stay home
If your children are ill, keep them at home
The seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza (flu) viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
The signs and symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.