Flu cases are on the rise in Montgomery County.
Local health care providers are reporting an increase in the number of positive rapid flu tests. It is important to protect yourself and the people around you by getting your flu shot now. The flu vaccine is available for everyone 6 months and older.
People with chronic health problems (including asthma or diabetes), the young, and the elderly are at a high risk of developing complications from the flu such as pneumonia. Health care workers and those that care for the young and elderly should get the flu vaccine to prevent spreading the flu to others. Even if you are healthy, getting the flu can cause you to miss work or school for an extended period, or even be hospitalized.
The Montgomery County Health Department has flu vaccine available for anyone 6 months and older. MCHD accepts almost all insurances as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and self-pay. Walk-ins are welcome. Flu vaccines are also available in other locations in the community including doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
Two doses of flu vaccine are recommended a month apart for children aged 6 months to 8 years that have not had 2 or more previous flu shots before July 1, 2017. The Montgomery County Health Department is offering quadrivalent flu vaccine in the injectable form for ages 6 months and older as well as the high dose formulation for adults 65 and older.
In addition to being vaccinated, practice good health habits to prevent the spread of flu at home, work, and school. Flu is spread from breathing in droplets when someone with the flu sneezes, coughs, or talks. The flu can also be spread by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. With this in mind, here are some additional steps you can take to prevent getting or spreading the flu:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often or use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, which spreads germs easily.
- Avoid close contact with sick people when possible. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick.
- Stay healthy. Get plenty of rest and exercise, drink lots of fluids and eat well.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home from work, school and errands for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides.
- If you feel you have the flu, please contact your healthcare provider right away. Your provider knows your health history and will be able to provide the best care possible to treat you if you have the flu and help prevent complications.
- Antiviral medication is a tool that your provider may feel would benefit you if you have the flu. It can shorten the length of the flu and prevent serious complications. However, it is most effective only when taken within 48 hours of developing symptoms.
For more flu information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.