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Flu season arrives in Central Oregon; immunization urged

BEND, Ore. - Deschutes County Health Services recently received confirmation from local labs of several cases of influenza in Central Oregon.

Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid catching the flu virus, and the best way to protect yourself and your community from illness, county officials said Wednesday.

If you haven’t received your flu vaccine yet, they said, now is the time get one.  It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza so the sooner you get vaccinated, the more protected you will be as we move into the busy holiday travel season.

Deschutes County Health Services begins tracking flu in October each year. The agency analyzes data from local hospital emergency departments and laboratories each week during flu season to better understand flu trends. To access the weekly flu surveillance report, go to: https://www.deschutes.org/health/page/local-flu-surveillance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age six months and older receive an annual influenza vaccination. A seasonal flu vaccination is especially recommended for people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people living or caring for babies six months and younger, and all health care workers.

Flu vaccine is available through local health care providers as well as most pharmacies (for people aged 7 and older). Deschutes County Health Services is also offering flu vaccine for children six months to 18 years old.  Call (541) 322-7400 to schedule a flu vaccine appointment for your child.

In addition to vaccination, these preventive measures can help stop flu:

1.    Cover your cough and sneeze.

2.    Wash hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

3.    Stay home when you’re sick. Protect others at school and work by staying home at least 24 hours after a fever (100+ degrees) subsides.

4.    Clean surfaces often, especially where children are playing. Flu germs can live for hours on hard surfaces.

Flu is a virus that causes mild to severe respiratory illness, and people can spread flu even before symptoms appear. It can lead to hospitalization and kills thousands of people in the U.S. each year. Each flu season is unique and unpredictable.

For more information on influenza, visit www.flu.oregon.gov.


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