Bingham Memorial Hospital has compiled information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate you and your family on flu prevention.
What is the flu?
The flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by flu viruses. Flu viruses cause illness, hospital stays, and deaths in the United States each year. There are many different flu viruses and new flu viruses can spread fast and make people sick.
How does the flu spread?
Seasonal flu spread mostly from person-to-person through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick with flu. People may also get sick by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms of seasonal flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to note that some people sick with the flu will not have a fever.
How long can a sick person spread the flu to others?
People infected with seasonal and 2009 H1N1 flu virus may be able to infect others from 1 day before getting sick to 5 to 7 days after. However, some people can be contagious for longer, especially children and people with weakened immune systems and people infected with 2009 H1N1 flu. Stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) A fever is defined as 100°F or 37.8°C.
Who should get a flu shot?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting seasonal flu can get a seasonal influenza vaccine. However, it is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious seasonal flu-related complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious seasonal flu-related complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination. People who should get the seasonal vaccine each year are:
- Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday.
- Pregnant women.
- People 50 years of age and older.
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers.
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu.
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).
What is H1N1 flu?
Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu”) is an influenza virus causing illness in people. This virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. The U.S. 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine will protect against an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus and is available at Bingham Memorial Hospital. Click here for upcoming flu shot clinic dates, times and locations.
To learn more about what you can do to Protect Yourself from the Flu, click here. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or www.flu.gov or call 800-CDC-INFO.