[pullquote align=”right”]Protect yourself and others from getting the flu by getting your seasonal flu vaccination[/pullquote]
It may be late March, but cases of influenza are still being reported in the state of Oregon.
Umatilla County Public Health is encouraging residents to get a flu vaccination if they have not done so.
“Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting the flu” said Administrator Genni Lehnert-Beers. The flu virus is spread mainly from person to person through coughing and sneezing in which tiny droplets travel through the air and into the mouths or noses of people nearby. These droplets can also land on surfaces such as tabletops or desks and can live for two hours or more making it possible for individuals to come in contact with the virus and become ill.
The state of Oregon’s public health webpage provides an overview of flu signs and symptoms.
“Most deaths and hospitalizations from influenza and its related complications occur in babies, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems” said Heather Blagg, Communicable Disease Nurse. “But most flu transmissions come from young, healthy, unvaccinated children and adults. That is why vaccination is such an important part of flu prevention.”
Umatilla County Public Health offers the following tips to stay flu-free:
- Get your seasonal flu vaccination.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Stay home if you become sick.
Lehnert-Beers said other ways to reduce the spread of the virus include: cleaning work and household surfaces often, wear a mask if you have a weakened immune system, ask your family, friends and health providers to get a flu vaccination, get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat well, manage any chronic conditions, try to avoid close contact with sick people, and stay home if you become sick.
Lehnert-Beers encourages everyone to be proactive and keep yourself well this flu season. Flu vaccinations can be obtained at your local pharmacy, health department, or doctor’s office.
Flu shots are available locally at Safeway in Hermiston.