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Niagara County public health director encourages preventive actions to help fight flu


Fri, Jan 24th 2020 05:10 pm

By the Niagara County Department of Health

With influenza activity widespread and laboratory-confirmed influenza reports increasing, the Niagara County Department of Health is encouraging everyone to prevent flu with a few key actions.

Getting a flu shot every year is an important step in protecting against influenza and its potentially serious complications. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

“In addition to getting the flu shot, good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs and prevent the flu,” said Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyday preventive actions include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever or signs of fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects at home, work or school that may be contaminated with germs.

“To help slow the spread of flu in our community, it is important to stay home from school or work when sick,” Stapleton emphasized. When sick with the flu, keeping your distance from others protects your health and the health of everyone else. People with the flu should drink plenty of liquids, rest and contact their health care provider if they feel very ill or do not seem to rebound after a few days.

“The New York State Department of Health recommends that people who are very sick, or people who are sick and at high risk of serious complications of the flu, be treated early with flu antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing.”

We all play an important role in protecting the health of our community. The preventive actions you take today matter. For more information on healthy habits to help prevent flu, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm. For more information on the current flu season, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.

Flu vaccines are available at many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even some schools. If you would like to schedule an appointment at the Niagara County Department of Health’s immunization clinic, call 716-278-1900.

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