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November 15, 2018

Flu season is here: Take steps to reduce your risks

Flu activity is just starting to increase across the state, including in Skagit County. Skagit County Public Health  encourages you to get vaccinated now, to ensure that your immunity is at its peak when flu season fully arrives.

The flu vaccine is the best prevention method to reduce the occurrence of influenza in your community. Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) nasal spray is recommended as an option for those who would not otherwise be vaccinated, or for whom it is most appropriate. Ask your doctor about availability, as not all providers and pharmacies carry LAIV nasal spray.

Vaccination is most important for those who are especially vulnerable to illness and at a higher risk of developing complications for the flu, and for those who live with or care for high-risk individuals. Higher-risk populations include the following:

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years;
  • People 65 years old or older
  • People who are immunocompromised due to any cause (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV infection);
  • Women who are or may become pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities;

If you or a family member experience flu symptoms, stay home from work or school and away from others who may be vulnerable until 24 hours after fever subsides. Most people will recover on their own, but it is important to follow up with your doctor if your symptoms are severe. Flu symptoms include some or all of the following – though it’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Find more information about flu symptoms and prevention online at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/index.html.