Flu season is here. Get vaccinated now for season-long protection.
Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report 2014-2015 Influenza Season Summary (PDF)
Print this poster (PDF) to put up in your facility to remind fellow healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
What is seasonal influenza (flu)?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
Complications of seasonal flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
What are the symptoms of flu?
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or having chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children.
How is flu spread?
Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk and droplets are breathed into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. 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 nose.
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms start and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, can infect others for an even longer time.
How can I prevent the flu?
Stop the spread of germs!
Remember to follow everyday practices (and teach them to your family members) that prevent the spread of germs causing seasonal flu and other illnesses.
- Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes with inside of elbow or tissue.
- Stay home when sick.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall. All people 6 months of age and older should get flu vaccine. The vaccine is available now in our community. It takes up to 2 weeks for protection to develop after the shot and protections lasts about a year.
There are several vaccine types available. The two most common types include:
Where to get vaccines
Seasonal influenza vaccine can be provided by your healthcare provider or a local pharmacy.
Businesses wanting to provide onsite flu shots can call:
- Adventist Health: (503) 408-7040
- Get A flu shot.com: (877) 358-7468 (getaflushot.com)
- Maxim Health Systems: (360) 896-7289
- Passport Health: (360) 597-4495
For Public Health and Healthcare Providers:
Which cases of influenza need to be reported to public health?
- Laboratory-confirmed influenza deaths in persons of all ages.
- Pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed influenza admitted to an intensive care unit.
- Suspected and laboratory-confirmed infections due to a novel influenza virus, including avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. (Note that 2009 H1N1 is no longer a novel virus).
- Outbreaks of influenza-like illness or laboratory-confirmed influenza in an institutional setting (e.g., long-term care facility).
Can I send specimens to WA Public Health Laboratories for testing?
Yes, but all specimens for submission must be approved through Clark County Public Health prior to submission. Call (360) 397-8182 to get permission for submission.
For more information on influenza virus testing available through the WA Public Health lab (PHL), types of specimens that will be accepted and specimen collection instructions see: WA PHL info sheet (PDF).