News Releases > Health officials spread flu prevention message
ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (February 11, 2008) - As part of its seasonal flu prevention campaign, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is urging residents to practice proper respiratory hygiene to avoid spreading the illness.
Although influenza reporting is voluntary, area hospitals and physician offices have been experiencing a marked increase in patients with signs and symptoms of influenza in recent days.
"Our flu season is starting a little earlier this year, and unfortunately one of the circulating strains of influenza is not covered by this year's vaccine," says Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner. "That's why everybody should take additional steps to reduce their risk of contracting the flu."
Health officials urgently recommend that people do the following:
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before meals, after coughing or sneezing, or after using the bathroom.
Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
Stay home from work, school and other public places when you are ill or experiencing symptoms of the flu.
Symptoms of the flu can include fever, headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat and congestions. People who become ill should see a physician at the first sign of symptoms. If begun within the first 48 hours of illness, treatment can reduce its symptoms and duration.
Staying home from work or school is particularly important because of the risk of spreading the flu to others.
"Just because your fever goes away after taking a pain reliever like Tylenol doesn't mean you are no longer contagious," McMahan says. "It's really important that people stay home in the first few days os this illness."
For more information about flu prevention, visit www.fighttheflu.org.