Flu season is in full swing, and Sacramento County is seeing an increase in flu cases.
Sacramento County’s Public Health office has received reports of 13 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases and one death in people under 65 years of age. Public Health also received a report of a death of someone more than 65 years of age.
With the increase in cases, Sacramento County Public Health wants to remind the public there are steps they can take to protect themselves from the flu. Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.
- Get yourself and your family vaccinated: A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and college health centers.
- Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of flu viruses: Wash your hands often (with soap and water), avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover your coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu viruses. If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw tissues in the trash after you use them. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before resuming normal activities.)
- Know when to contact your healthcare provider: Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.). High risk groups include young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.
- Know when to seek emergency medical treatment: The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill. If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. Emergency warning signs of flu sickness in children include; fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, and fever with a rash. In adults: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, and severe or persistent vomiting.
There are many different flu strains, some more severe than others. Even in years when the flu vaccine is not a perfect match, it has been shown to lessen flu symptom severity.
“Vaccination is still the best way for people to protect themselves from the flu,” says Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer. “The more people who are vaccinated the better protected the community is as a whole.”