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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 28, 2014

Protect yourself: Get flu shot

By CINDY LITCHFIELD, Public Health R.N. | Sep 19, 2013

Henry County Community Health joins the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control to urge everyone six months and older to obtain a flu vaccination as the best way to protect against influenza. By getting a yearly flu vaccine, you can protect yourself from illness, and protect those around you. Vaccination is also important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading the flu to them. The vaccination is good for one year.

“The best way to protect you and your family is to receive an annual influenza vaccination,” said Cindy Litchfield, Community Health RN. “Since the flu season is fast approaching, we recommend you receive your vaccination now.”

Influenza is a respiratory illness with a sudden onset. Symptoms include body aches, chills, fever, headache, extreme tiredness, coughing, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. The flu virus is spread when people who are ill, cough or sneeze without covering their mouths and noses. This sends tiny droplets of saliva into the air for others to breathe and get sick. A person can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with the flu virus.

There are several suggestions for preventing or reducing the spread of influenza in your home:

• Stay home if you are ill.

• Wash hands frequently by using soap and warm water and rub your hands for 15-20 seconds (this is usually the time it takes to sing the ABC’s). Dry your hands with a clean towel that is changed frequently.

• When hand washing is not possible use hand sanitizer.

• Do not share glasses, utensils, toothbrushes, etc.

• Cover your mouth using your upper arm or a tissue when coughing and using a disposable tissue when sneezing or blowing your nose.

• Clean surfaces with household cleaner or a bleach solution. (Mixing ¼ cup bleach with one gallon of water makes a bleach solution. This should be mixed daily. )If disinfectant is not available hot water and soap can be used.

• If ill consult a health care provider.

For questions about the flu or flu clinics call Henry County Community Health at (319) 385-6724.

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