Flu season has arrived: Time to get vaccinated

CARROLLTON – With the arrival of flu season, the Carroll County General Health District is recommending all Ohioans six months and older get a flu shot now.

Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the best protection against seasonal flu viruses. Flu vaccines have been updated this year to better match circulating flu viruses.

“Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick, missing work or school, and prevent flu-related hospitalization and death,” said Leann Cline, Carroll County General Health District health commissioner. “The more people who get vaccinated help protect others, including older adults, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.”

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

“If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading it to others,” said Cline.

Although most people fully recover from the flu, some experience severe illness like pneumonia and respiratory failure and the flu can sometimes be fatal. People who think they may have the flu and are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or who are extremely ill should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

The Carroll County General Health District offers the high-dose flu vaccine to those adults age 65 and over, pediatric flu vaccine to children six months to 35 months in age, and the regular flu vaccine to those individuals ages 3 years and up. The flu vaccine may be obtained at the health department by calling the nursing department at 330-627-4866 x 1530 to schedule an appointment.

While vaccination provides the greatest protection against the flu, other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading it include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

CDC recommends healthcare providers administer prescription antiviral medication as a second line of defense as soon as possible to patients with confirmed or suspected flu who are hospitalized, have severe illness, or may be at higher risk for flu complications.

To learn more information about influenza and flu activity in Ohio, visit www.flu.ohio.gov.

Contact the Carroll County General Health District at 330-627-4866 or visit the website at www.carroll-lhd.org to learn more about services offered and other public health information.

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