Influenza (flu) is very contagious and caused by a group of respiratory viruses called the influenza viruses. If you have not already received a flu Immunization to prevent the flu, you may want to consider contacting your physician to see if it is advisable for you to receive the flu vaccine. The incubation period of influenza is 1 to 3 days. However, you can be contagious from the day before the signs and symptoms appear, until 7 days after the onset of flu.
Signs and symptoms of flu include:
? Sudden onset of fever (over 100 F)
? Muscle aches and pains
? Sore throat
? Mild pinkeye
? Decreased energy
? Abdominal pain
? Nausea and vomiting (These symptoms alone or with a fever often are caused by other factors, not influenza virus)
? In young infants, croup, bronchiolitis, or pneumonia
Call your physician if you have the above symptoms and fever. The infection is spread by direct contact from sneezing and coughing, and indirect contact from hands and articles soiled with nose and throat secretions.
The Stamford Director of Health and Social Services, Anne Fountain, emphasizes the need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves from the influenza virus. “Please remember, there are steps you can take in your daily life to help protect you from getting the flu:
? Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
? Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
? Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
? Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
? If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.”
The Stamford Department of Health & Social Services plans to run a flu vaccination clinic, for ages 36 months and older, on Tuesday, January 15th, 10am to 12pm in the Government Center Lobby (888 Washington Blvd, Stamford, CT) . The cost for vaccination is $30 via check; credit cards will not be accepted.
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