The Clatsop County Public Health Department is working with local health providers and others to ensure access to flu vaccine for the community. This flu season, the incidence of influenza is at above-average numbers in Oregon and many other states, and as a result of early-immunization drives and other factors, some areas are experiencing a shortage of vaccine.
The health department is surveying providers, pharmacies and other sources on the availability of flu vaccine locally, and coordinating with those entities to make sure immunization is available to those seeking it.
The department itself has vaccine available for children who are without insurance or are covered under the Oregon Health Plan. Call (503) 325-8500 for more information.
Influenza is caused by a virus spread person-to-person, through the air and on hard surfaces in droplets from sneezes and coughs. Illness from the flu can last up to 10 days and include such symptoms as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, congestion, fever, muscle aches and headache. For some people, the flu can be a very serious, even deadly disease, which could lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia. Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
Vaccination is the most effective way to avoid catching the flu virus, and the best way to protect yourself and your community from illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone aged 6 months and older receive an annual influenza vaccination. Children 6 months through 8 years may need two doses depending on previous flu vaccine history, so it is important to talk to your provider.
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 or people who are unable to be vaccinated because of health reasons, and all health care workers.
To find out where you can get flu vaccine, contact your health provider or local pharmacy, or call the Clatsop County Public Health Department at (503) 325-8500. More information on flu prevention, including vaccine providers, is also available at the Clatsop County website, www.co.clatsop.or.us, or atwww.flu.oregon.gov.
Along with vaccine, these preventive measures can help stop flu and other diseases from circulating:
· Cover your cough and sneeze.
· Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water.
· 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.
· Clean surfaces. Flu germs can live for hours on hard surfaces. Make sure your home and workspace is wiped down frequently, especially where children are playing.