Now that our summer has ended, and we see all of the signs that fall is here, we know that the holiday season is around the corner. This is also the season known as flu season, and it is the time of year when viruses and bacterias seem to be most active. Colder weather can weaken immune systems, and lower our defenses to attack. In addition, the return of school for children and college students creates the perfect environment for the sharing and spreading of contagious diseases. The goal of this article is to raise your awareness to the influenza virus, and preventive strategies you can take to protect yourself.
Flu Season Facts
- Peak season is November to March.
- 5-20% percent of Americans will get the flu.
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized annually in the US.
- Can be contagious up to one day before symptoms appear, then up to 5-7 days after symptoms.
- Responsible for between 3,000 to 49,000 deaths annually since the 1970’s.
Influenza– also know as “the flu” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can sometimes lead to death. Transmission is person to person by droplets from coughing, or sneezing. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with compromised immune systems, are at high risk for serious flu complications. Complications include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances and pneumonia. Pneumonia is responsible for over 1 million admissions to hospitals annually, and
- Get immunized!
Flu vaccine- See your doctor to see if you can take the flu vaccine. Vaccines are prepared every year to provide the maximum protection for that year. Usually lasts 6 months to a year.
Pneumovax- Individuals over age 65 should also be immunized with pneumovax. It consists of a mixture that protects against the 23 most prevalent or invasive pneumococcal types of Streptococcus pneumonias, including the six serotypes that most frequently cause invasive drug-resistant pneumococcal infections streptococcus pneumonia.
- Antivirals– If you get the flu, talk to your doctor about new anti-viral medications such as Tamiflu which can shorten the length of the illness, and lessen your symptoms.
- Hand Hygiene- wash your hands frequently. Assume that viruses and bacteria are on every door handle, counter top, and hand rail in public places…because they are! Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol based hand sanitizers frequently. Carry one with you. Cough into sleeve or tissue, and not your hands.
- Stay away! If you become sick, stay home to protect others. If you know someone is sick, stay away. You can visit later when they are healthy.
Sweet Bye N Bye Inc. is a local Adult Foster Care and Residential Care provider in the Salem area. We are owned and operated by Registered Nurses that provides compassionate, quality, assisted living services. We wish you and yours a safe, and happy holiday season.
Article Provided by:
Robert Estrada, RN
Sweet Bye N Bye Inc.