Oconee Regional Medical Center

H1N1 and Influenza

H1N1 and Influenza

What should I know about H1N1 and its status?

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

  • Stay informed. The CDC website will be updated regularly as information becomes available.
  • Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  • Take everyday actions to stay healthy.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.

For more information from the CDC, click on this link: H1N1 (Swine Flu)

 

Why should I get flu shot?

Influenza is a serious disease, and people of any age can get it. In an average year, the flu causes 36,000 DEATHS (mostly among those 65 and older) and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States. An annual flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent the flu.

Who should be vaccinated?

It is recommended for anyone who is at risk of complications from influenza or more likely to require medical care:

· All children from 6 months to 5 years of age

· Anyone 50 years of age or older

· Women who will be pregnant during influenza season

· Anyone with long term health problems

· Anyone with a weakened immune system

· Residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities

It is also recommended for anyone who lives with or cares for people at high risk for influenza related complications:

· Health Care Providers

· Household contacts and caregivers of children from birth to 5 years of age

· Household contacts and caregivers of people 50 years and older, and those with medical conditions that put them at risk for severe complications from influenza.

EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT IN A HIGH RISK YOU CAN SPREAD THE INFLUENZA VIRUS TO OTHERS!!

Does the flu vaccine work right away?

No. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus infection.

Why do I need to get vaccinated against the flu every year?

Flu viruses change from year to year, which means two things. First, you can get the flu more than once during your lifetime. Second, a vaccine made against flu viruses circulating last year may not protect against newer viruses. That is why the influenza vaccine is updated to include current viruses every year.

How safe is the vaccine?

Influenza vaccine is very safe. The most common side effects of the vaccine include soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of injection. These reactions are temporary and occur in 15-20% of recipients. Less than 1% develop symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches. Experiencing these non-specific side effects does not mean that you are getting the flu. Serious adverse reactions to the vaccine are very rare. Such reactions are most likely the result of an allergy to a vaccine component, such as the egg protein left in the vaccine after growing the virus.

Submitted by Lisa Weldon, Employee Health Nurse