Flu activity and hospital visits for flu-like symptoms are rapidly increasing in Washington. “While flu cases are on the rise in San Juan County, we are not currently seeing the levels reported in the state and region,” says Dr. Frank James, health officer for San Juan County. “However, we can reasonably expect our county to begin seeing an increase in flu cases now that flu is active in the region and children are returning to school. The influenza vaccine this year appears to be significantly less effective, especially against the most common circulating virus; however, vaccination is still one important way to protect against infection — especially for those with an elevated risk of complications, hospitalization and death.”
San Juan County Health and Community Services urges all individuals to cover your cough, wash your hands and stay home from school or work when you are sick with a cough and fever. Certain people are at high risk of serious flu-related complications — including children younger than 2 years old, people 65 and older, pregnant women, asthmatics, individuals that have had strokes, people that take immunosuppressive medications, all American Indians and Alaska Natives, overweight individuals (BMI greater than 40) and all residents of long-term care facilities. If you are sick with influenza-like symptoms and you are in a high-risk group, early treatment is very important. Starting antiviral medications can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk individuals if the medications are started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms. Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated as soon as possible — and by educating yourself, co-workers and family on the importance of getting a flu vaccine, and staying home if you have flu symptoms.
For more information on where get the flu shot, contact your health care provider or San Juan County Health and Community Services at (360) 378-4474.