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Genesee County Health Department Offers Tips to Help Prevent Flu

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

It’s flu season again and Genesee County has already seen the presence of the virus in the area.

The flu, or influenza, is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms include coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches and fever.

According to the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD) and The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting vaccinated which is widely available throughout the county. The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu each year. They also say that vaccination is especially important for those who are at high risk for serious flu complications including young children, pregnant women, people 65 years old and older and individuals of any age with certain chronic health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease). Remember that once you have received the flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks before the vaccine provides its optimal benefit.

Other advice for preventing the flu:

  • You can prevent yourself and others by washing your hands often with soap and water along with covering your coughs and sneezes.
  • Those who are sick should stay home.
  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. Antiviral drugs work best when started in the first two days of symptoms.
People infected with flu shed virus and may be able to infect others from one day before getting sick to about five-to-seven days after getting sick. This can be longer in some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems. The GCHD says this means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick.
The CDC also recommends:
  • You stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
  • Continue to cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands even after you return to work.
Most people recover from the flu at home without medical assistance. However, if your symptoms persist or are severe, consult your family physician. Visit the Genesee County Health Department website for further information. To find a flu clinic near you, go to www.flu.gov or talk to your healthcare provider.

 

 

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