PSA from North Central Public Health District
Influenza is here; you don’t need to get it!
You may have heard, influenza is here, in Oregon and in the Gorge. There have been cases of influenza reported to North Central Public Health District in recent weeks, and there are respiratory illnesses with fever in circulation throughout the community. To be clear, Influenza, also known as “the flu,” is primarily a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever of 100 degrees F or greater, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache, nausea, chills and fatigue. Many respiratory viruses have similar symptoms, but influenza tends to be more severe. Occasionally, vomiting or diarrhea may be present, especially in children.
- Oregon has had higher rates of influenza than are normally seen at this time of year and, unlike most years, the vast majority of hospitalizations are among persons younger than 65 years of age. The percent of clinic patients seen with “influenza-like illness” for week 1 of 2014 was 5.03% which is above Oregon’s seasonal threshold of 1.09%.
- Fortunately, influenza vaccine is still widely available, and this year’s vaccine is a good match for what is circulating. The majority of influenza specimens that have been subtyped this season have been identified as 2009H1N1, which is a component in this year’s influenza vaccine.
- There is no shortage of flu vaccine this year, and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Most people will develop immunity within two weeks of being vaccinated. Effectiveness of vaccine in preventing illness is affected by individual immune system strength. Because of this, high vaccination rates in the community may be the best way to protect those whose immune systems are weakened or infants who are too young to be vaccinated. Immunization is recommended for everyone over six months of age. There is probably nothing easier to protect your health than to get vaccinated!
- If you still need to be vaccinated, please contact your primary care physician. Local pharmacies also have vaccine available. You may also contact North Central Public Health District at 541 506-2600.