POINT PLEASANT — Flu season is still here and several preventative measures exist for an individual to avoid catching the virus.
Jennifer Thomas, nursing director and administrator at the Mason County Health Department, said flu season can begin as early as September and last as long as April. Thomas shared this flu season has stayed level so far and she has yet to see an increase in flu cases. She commented at the health department she has primarily seen influenza A (H3N2), Flu A, cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Flu A is predominate this flu season.
Thomas suggested in order to prevent contracting the flu individuals should wash their hands, cover their cough, and if they are ill, they should stay home. The CDC recommends an individual to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks. Also, the CDC recommends that individuals avoid close contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
The CDC warns individuals that flu symptoms come on suddenly. A few common symptoms are as follows: fever or feeling feverish and having chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. The CDC states some individuals may have vomiting and diarrhea, though these symptoms are more common in children than adults. If untreated, complications can arise from the flu such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections.
Thomas said it is not too late for individuals to get their flu shots and they should go by their doctor’s recommendation as when to take the flu shot yearly. She shared she recommends individuals get the flu shot because when a vaccine exists to prevent an illness, it should be utilized.
Thomas said that children as young as 6 months old can get a flu shot. She shared that flu shots can be given out at the Mason County Health Department, Fruth Pharmacy, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Wal-Mart Pharmacy, and at doctors’ offices.
Thomas commented the health department is currently out of adult strength flu shots, but flu shots for children aged 6 months to 18 years old can still be given.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.