This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Got a flu shot?
The holidays are approaching. Have you gotten a flu shot? Carson City Health and Human Services encourages everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones during the holiday season by getting a flu shot. National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 7-13, is a great opportunity to remind peopleflu shots are beneficial and effective even if they are received in December and January.
So far, there have not been many cases of flu in our area, but sporadic cases have been detected in Northern Nevada. It’s likely the community will see an increase in flu cases throughout the coming winter months. Now is the time to get a flu vaccine.
For millions of people each year, the flu can bring a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed instead of at work or school. It may seem like the flu is not a big deal — it certainly lacks the cache of more exotic diseases, like Ebola — but more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States each year from flu complications, and some even die as a result of flu.
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a yearly flu vaccination. Carson City Health and Human Services encourages everyone to get annual flu vaccinations, and especially those who may be at high risk for complications from the flu. Children younger than 5 years of age, adults 65 years of age and older, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease, and pregnant women are all considered to be at greater risk of getting the flu, and should receive a vaccine. For those who are already at higher risk for the flu, becoming infected can mean developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, or a worsening of existing health conditions.
In addition to getting a flu shot, there are other ways you can help prevent the spread of flu. Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) for at least 30 seconds, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Coughing into your elbow is a good way to keep from spreading germs. Finally, stay home from work, school and social events if you are not feeling well to avoid spreading your illness to others. If you think you may have the flu, see your health care provider.
Flu vaccines are available during our regularly scheduled Thursday Immunization Day at our clinic at 900 E. Long St. For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.