OTTAWA – Flu season is here and the LaSalle County Health Department is urging everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza (flu). If you have not received a flu shot yet, it is not too late. While it is best to get vaccinated against the flu in October, you can still get a flu shot. Flu activity is usually highest between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. Flu symptoms can include fever or feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, tiredness, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Flu is typically spread by droplets when someone with the flu talks, coughs or sneezes. People can also get the flu by touching something, like a door handle, that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose.
On average, it takes about two days after being exposed to the flu before symptoms begin. However, you can pass the flu to someone roughly a day before you start experiencing those symptoms and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
To lessen the chances of developing the flu, adults and children need to practice good hygiene measures. Teach the importance of covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and educate children about hand to mucous membrane transmission. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your children is through frequent and thorough hand washing. People who exhibit “flu-like” symptoms should stay home from work, out of childcare and school to minimize transmission.
This is also a good time for certain individuals to get a pneumonia vaccination. People who should get a pneumonia shot include:
For those under 65 with a chronic illness, it is recommended that it be repeated once after five years. A pneumonia shot is usually necessary only once for those over the age of 65.
For more information on influenza, call (815) 433-3366, visit www.lasallecounty.org/hd or like them on Facebook/Twitter.