Health Update: The Flu

HEALTH ALERT: Significant Increase in Flu Activity – Vaccine Still Available

CautionCarson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) is reporting a significant increase of positive Influenza (flu) cases in the region. Overall, Carson City, Douglas and Lyon Counties have experienced many more cases of influenza this year than the same time last year. In fact, reports of illness and hospitalizations are in some cases twice that of this time last year. The healthcare system (hospitals, clinics, and EMS) is working very hard to meet the demand for services.

Flu activity most often peaks in February and can last into May. It remains to be seen if we will have an early peak this year, or if things will continue to get worse. The strain of influenza circulating is primarily the Type A, H3N2, which usually causes more severe illness, with increased hospitalizations and deaths, especially for young children and older adults.

Flu ViewHow does the flu spread?
Flu imageFlu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too. Persons infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.

How do I know if I have the flu?
Sick kidThe flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Sometimes people with the flu can have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults. If you or someone you know is sick with some of these symptoms they should consider
getting medical attention, especially if they are at high risk of complications. People at high risk of complications include children under five years-old, adults 65 years-old or older and pregnant women.

What are everyday preventive actions?

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, we recommend that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
  • Vaccination BottleWhile sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Help us maintain a healthy school environment:

  • Make sure your children receive all recommended immunizations including an annual flu vaccine.
  • Reinforce all of the above preventive behaviors practiced at school.
  • Make sure children get plenty of exercise, sleep and healthy food.
  • Keep sick children home, especially if they have a fever above 100o F, diarrhea, vomiting or a severe cough.

A couple additional important points:

  • Notify your child’s healthcare provider if your child develops difficulty breathing or a new onset of wheezing.
  • If your child has asthma, please make sure we have a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan.

Finally, it is not too late to get a flu shot! Vaccination is still the best protection against the flu and your individual flu shot serves as your contribution to community wellness. It will help protect the elderly and all babies under 6 months old who are too young to be vaccinated, as well as the vulnerable in our community with cancer, respiratory illnesses and weakened or compromised immune systems. Your efforts help build Community Immunity!

The flu shot is available at:
Carson City Health and Human Services
900 East Long Street, Carson City, Nevada, 89706
Walk-in immunizations are available every
Thursday from 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
They bill Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurances, or $20 without insurance. Flu vaccinations are a covered benefit under most insurance plans.

For more information, please read here the Carson City Health & Human Services news release.