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Flu Prevention
Island Hospital urges everyone to remain vigilant when it comes to preventing the flu. Influenza viruses are always changing so annual vaccination is recommended.
 What is the Flu?

The flu (influenza) is a virus spread through respiratory droplets which can live on surfaces for two to eight hours. Those with flu-like symptoms should stay home and isolate themselves from other family members. A doctor should be seen immediately if the person has difficulty breathing, bluish color to the skin and lips, coughs up blood, chest pain, dehydration, confusion or convulsions.


Preventive Actions

Seasonal flu infects 5 - 20% of the population each year and accounts for over 226,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.

For all viruses, take everyday preventive actions:
  • First and foremost, get vaccinated!
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to keep from spreading flu viruses to others. Throw the tissue away after use.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.

Your doctor’s office, the Skagit County Public Health Department and many local pharmacies offer the flu vaccine. You can also search for a local flu vaccine location near you by using this handy vaccine finder: http://flushot.healthmap.org


Be Proactive

The following higher-risk populations hold priority for early vaccinations:

  • Pregnant women
  • Households with children under six months old
  • Healthcare workers
  • People aged 6 to 24 years
  • People aged 25 to 64 with certain medical conditions
 
What if I Get Sick?

If you have flu-like symptoms, ask for a mask upon entering a healthcare facility to prevent the spread of the flu to others. Stay at home if fever is 100 degrees or higher with a cough, chest congestion, sore throat, body and muscle aches, and sometimes vomiting and/or diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all with flu-like illness should stay at home 24 hours after fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. This may help prevent the spread of the flu at local schools and places of work.


Links

For more information about the seasonal flu and flu vaccinations, visit these websites: