Flu increase possible; vaccinations available

La Paz County Health Department Press Release

The decrease in temperatures this week may bring something more unsettling, an increase in flu activity. “When it’s cold outside we stay indoors more often, increasing our chances of spreading viruses like the flu,” said Marion Shontz, Health Director for the La Paz County Health Department. “Now is the time to prepare for seasonal flu by getting your vaccination and stocking up on items that support symptoms.”

In response to the increase in flu cases nationwide, the La Paz County Health Department ordered additional vaccine, to ensure a steady supply throughout the season. Anyone who has not been vaccinated against the flu can receive their vaccination at the county health department for a donation of $10.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated against the flu, now is the time to do it,” explained Diana Grazier, Director of Nursing for La Paz County Health Department.  “And it’s important to remember to stay home when you are sick, see your doctor if you normally have complications from the flu.” Rest, fluids and fever reducing medicines are still the best treatment for flu symptoms. The county health department suggests stocking up on items that provide comfort and relief. “The last thing anyone wants to do is go to the store when you feel so achy.”

Though getting your flu shot is the best way to protect against influenza, these simple actions can stop the spread of germs and help protect you from getting sick:

  • Wash your hands.  Washing your hands often with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer will help protect you from germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.  When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.  You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.  It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.  Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Arizona Department of Health Services is reporting 1,137 cases of confirmed flu but none of those cases are in La Paz County. Each flu season is unique, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, on average, approximately 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu. Even though influenza is a common illness, it can have serious complications. Some of the complications caused by flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections as complications from the flu. Those aged 65 years and older and persons of any age with chronic medical conditions are at highest risk for serious complications of flu. More than 200,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu.

Visit lpchd.com for more information.