Health officials dispel flu rumors | NevadaAppeal.com

Health officials dispel flu rumors

Staff report

As flu season is upon us, it is imperative to be properly informed.

Misinformation is common, and it is encouraged that residents seek information from credible resources. The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health confirms there have been recent deaths in Nevada and nationwide associated with severe complications of the virus.

This flu season is typical, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While flu activity is currently low in the United States, it is important to note that the incidence of cases in Nevada and in the United States is likely to peak in February, so anyone who has not yet received a flu vaccine should do so now. Flu is a serious illness that causes approximately 200,000 people to be hospitalized each year.

"The best precautions you can take are getting a flu shot, being conscientious about hand washing, and if you are ill, limiting your contact with others as much as possible," said Tracey D. Green, MD, Chief Medical Officer.

The predominant strain of influenza observed this season has been type A, H1N1. The H1N1 strain is different from other strains of flu because H1N1 severely impacts younger age groups, children, immunocompromised individuals, and pregnant women. The flu vaccine available this year contains protection against this strain, as well as three other strains. Though the flu itself is common, it can result in severe complications and even death for people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

Health officials have responded to the local interest in flu vaccine by organizing points of dispensing (POD) clinics, where residents can receive flu shots.

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For more information about seasonal flu, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.

For more information about the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, go to: http://health.nv.gov