New England flu outbreak, at peak

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in Blogs | 0 comments

 

Image from ABC News

Boston has declared a public health emergency.

The 2013 flu season is the earliest flu season of the last ten years.  Confirmed cases are ten times higher compared to last season. It’s not too late to get up to date on some important facts and protect yourself and others from this serious virus. College students should get vaccinated before commencing the spring semester.

Already, there have been 18 statewide deaths in MA.

If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, visit your local Health Department. The Wellesley Health Department can be reached at: 781-235-0135, Mon-Fri: 9 am – 4:30 pm.

Together, we can minimize the impact of the flu if we take precautions. Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated.

Who is at risk?

We are all at risk; however, some people are more likely to have serious complications. Adults over 65, children under 5, and people with asthma, diabetes, and chronic heart disease are most at risk for serious complications.  People who work in the health industry, those who are in close contact with children, and students who live in a dorm setting are more likely to catch the flu.

What about the vaccine?

Vaccination is the first line of defense when it comes to flu prevention. While a flu vaccine does not fully guarantee that the person will be immune to the flu, it is the most effective option out there. It’s not too late to get vaccinated as long as you currently do not have a fever. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated this season.

The 2012-2013 flu vaccine contains the following three viruses:

A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;

A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;

B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (form the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses)

Symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

If you get sick?

  • Cover your cough, sneezes, and don’t leave used tissues lying around.
  • Stay hydrated. If you prefer tea over water, decaffeinated teas are more hydrating.
  • Keep your hands clean, especially after coughing or sneezing. Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap or use hand sanitizer.
  • If you get a fever, stay at home at least 24 hours after your fever goes away so that you don’t pass the flu onto someone else.
  • If you are at high risk and have a medical condition, contact your doctor during the early stages of illness, this increases your chances of getting effective treatment. Antivirals are commonly prescribed to people who have a high-risk health condition.

Sources: CDC, Flu.gov, ABC News, WCVB News

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