A SPECIAL SECTION OF THE DENISON REVIEW | Friday, November, 1, 2013
Vaccinate now! Flu vaccine is best defense
The 2012-2013 Iowa influenza season began earlier, peaked earlier, and was more severe than recent influenza seasons, particularly for people 65 years and older. What will the upcoming flu season be like? No one can predict that, but one thing is certain: your best defense against getting the flu is an annual vaccination. The best time to be vaccinated is now. While outbreaks begin as early as October, most of the peak flu activity happens in January or later. “Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to receive the full protection from the flu virus, being
vaccinated now will mean you’ll be protected before the flu starts spreading in your community,” said Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. Every Iowan over six months of age should receive the flu vaccine and it’s especially important for some people, because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications, like pneumonia, should they get sick with the flu: • Pregnant women • Children, especially those younger than two years of age • Older adults, especially those aged 65 years and over • People who have certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease This year, there are a variety of flu vaccine op-
tions available, including a trivalent vaccine (that protects against three different flu viruses), a quadrivalent vaccine (that protects against four flu strains), and a vaccine for those who are allergic to eggs. In addition, the vaccine is available as a ‘regular’ flu shot, nasal spray, and intradermal shot that uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot and is injected into the skin, instead of the muscle. Individuals should consult with their health care provider to see which option is best for you. For more information on the kinds of flu vaccine available this year, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/ keyfacts.htm. For more information about Iowa influenza tracking and monitoring, visit www.idph.state. ia.us/Cade/Influenza. aspx.
How to prevent the spread of influenza at the workplace Influenza should not be shared with your co-workers. The following tips were taken from the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website, www.idph.state.ia.us. An annual influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza. Stay home when sick. Employees with symptoms of influenza should not come to work. Excluding ill employees from the work place can help reduce the spread of the illness to other employees. If possible, allowing employees to work from home when ill can help reduce the spread of disease. Wash hands often. People often catch influenza and other viruses by picking up the virus on their hands, and then touching their nose, eyes, or mouth. Wash hands several times a day, using soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds (this is generally around the time it takes to sing the ABC song). Dry hands with paper towels or automatic hand dryers. Restrooms should be checked regularly to ensure that soap and paper towels are available for employee use. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Influenza is often spread by coughs and sneezes. Make sure disposable tissues are available in work areas for runny noses and sneezing. Individuals should always cover their mouths with their upper arm or a tissue when
coughing and use a tissue when sneezing or blowing their nose. Tissues should be thrown away immediately, and then hands should be washed. Use hand sanitizer. Encourage the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer at employee desks. Hand sanitizer is effective in killing germs on hands when they are not visibly soiled. Appropriate times to use hand sanitizer are after coughing, sneezing, or contact with infected surfaces (e.g. contact with a keyboard). Contact your health care provider. Employees should contact their physician when they become ill during influenza season. Antiviral drugs may reduce the severity and length of illness when they are taken early in the illness. Antivirals need to be started within 48 hours of becoming ill to be effective. Avoid close contact. Employees should avoid sharing of saliva by not sharing glasses, forks, spoons, etc. Clean surfaces often. Common use surfaces, such as water fountains, door handles, handrails, eating surfaces, desks, and phones should be cleaned frequently with disinfectants. Commercial disinfectants or bleach solutions are appropriate. (Mixing ¼ cup bleach with 1 gallon of water makes bleach solution. This should be mixed fresh daily).
Crawford County Public Health offers flu vaccinations Clinic schedule listed Crawford County Home Health, Hospice & Public Health will offer flu vaccinations for $20. Individuals who have Medicare Part B coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan that covers the flu vaccination must bring all Medicare cards with them at the time of the vaccination in order for Medicare to be billed. Children without insurance that covers the flu vaccine may receive one through the Vaccines For Children (FVS) Program at immunization clinics at the Public Health Office, 105 North Main Street in Denison. Immunization clinic schedule for children (all at the Public Health Office) November 4, 1 to 5:30 p.m. November 5, 2 to 5:30 p.m. November 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. December 2, 1 to 5:30 p.m. December 3, 2 to 5:30 p.m. December 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clinic schedule for adults November 5, 11 a.m. to noon, Crawford County Senior Center, 201 South Main Street, Denison; and 2 to 3 p.m., Oakwood Manor, 311 North 12th Street, Denison
Fighting the Flu
Flu circulating in Iowa The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges all Iowans over six months of age to receive their yearly seasonal influenza vaccine. Surveillance by IDPH influenza sentinel sites and confirmatory testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory shows the flu is circulating in Iowa. Three cases of seasonal influenza were identified in eastern and central Iowa in the last two months; all were type A - the strain that can cause more serious illness. All the individuals are recovering and were not hospitalized. “It’s important to note that influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa,” said IDPH Medical Director Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “This means health care providers are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza; thus there are probably a lot more people with the flu out in our communities.” Influenza surveillance also gives an indication of the types of influenza viruses circulating, how sick people are getting with the flu, where outbreaks are
The Flu Vaccine Finder on the website, www.flu.gov, can be used to find locations where the flu vaccine is being given. Individuals can also contact their health care provider and the local health department to learn where the flu vaccine is available.
occurring, and how widespread influenza illness is. Vaccination is the best defense against influenza, but personal actions also help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: • Cover your coughs and sneezes • Clean your hands frequently • Contain germs by staying home when ill The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days.
Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. IDPH conducts yearround influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network, and posts a flu report weekly. The weekly report can be found at www.idph. state.ia.us/Cade/Influenza. aspx?pg=FluHome. Individuals should contact their health care provider or local health department to learn where the vaccine is available in their community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu. gov/.
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November 1, 2013
Take steps to prevent the flu Good health habits can help stop germs
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering coughs and washing hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu. Flu antiviral drugs can also be used to treat and prevent the flu. 1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. 2. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catch-
ing your illness. 3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. 4. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. 5. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. 6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Who Needs a Flu Vaccine?
YoU Even healthy people can get the flu. protect yourself and those around you.
We also give the Zoster (shingles) vaccine!
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What is the flu shot? The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. It contains three seasonal influenza viruses that are grown in eggs. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
Who Should Get Vaccinated this Season? Everyone 6 months of age or older should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for people who have certain medical conditions or are at high risk of developing serious complications.
Who should not get a flu shot? Talk with a doctor before getting a flu shot if you: 1. Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs 2. Have ever had a serious reaction to a previous flu shot 3. Have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that What are the side effects that could occur? occurred after receiving influenza vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine Mild side effects include soreness, is recommended for you. redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever (low grade) and aches.
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November 1, 2013
Fighting the Flu
Key facts about influenza (flu) From the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov/ flu/keyfacts.htm The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms: w fever (it’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever) or feeling feverish/chills w cough w sore throat w runny or stuffy nose w muscle or body aches w headaches w fatigue (very tired) Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
Individuals may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before they know they are sick, as well as while they are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time. Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including: w what flu viruses are spreading w how much flu vaccine is available w when vaccine is available w how many people get vaccinated w how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
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Crawford County Home Health, Hospice & Public Health will be offering flu vaccinations at a fee of $20.
If you have Medicare Part B Coverage, or a Medicare Advantage plan that covers the flu vaccination, you must bring all Medicare cards at the time of the vaccination in order for Medicare to be billed. Children without insurance that covers the flu vaccine may receive one through the Vaccines For Children (VFC) Program at Immunization Clinics at our Public Health Office, 105 North Main in Denison. Upcoming clinics for children will be held on November 4, 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.; November 5, 2:00 to 5:30 p.m.; and November 21, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Public Health Office. In December, Immunization Clinics will be December 2, 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.; December 3, 2:00 to 5:30 p.m. and December 19, 10:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Our team of professionals can assist you with your home health, hospice and public health needs. For more information, call (712) 263-3303 or stop at our office at 105 North Main St. in Denison
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