Health Officer warns that flu season is not quite over
Posted by Seth Conners
According to County Health officer Richard Johnson, levels of flu-like activity continues to decrease both nationally and statewide, but the levels in Mono County, as measured by activity in the Sierra Park Clinics, continue above expected levels for this time of year (as of Saturday April 1st – not an April Fool’s joke!)
While the 2016-2017 influenza season has peaked, flu activity (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm) is still elevated in the U.S. and is expected to continue for several weeks.
We recommend a yearly fly vaccine (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm) for everyone 6 months and older. This season’s flu vaccines (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/flu-vaccine-reducing-risk.htm) are reducing risk of illness by nearly half.
Of note – there have been 61 influenza-associated deaths in children so far this flu season, and most of the deaths have been in unvaccinated kids. We routinely recommend that influenza vaccination continue as long as flu viruses are circulating.
We also recommend prompt treatment with influenza anti-viral drugs (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/antivirals/whatyoushould.htm) for people who are very sick with flu and people who are at high risk of flu complications who get flu.
Therefore, all current policies and orders remain in effect:
1. The masking requirement for healthcare workers who have not received this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine continues. We will re-evaluate this requirement at the beginning of each week.
2. All persons entering a healthcare facility with a cough should wear a mask, and be placed into a private exam room as soon as possible.
3. Staff should stay home if they are sick!
4. All persons with a respiratory illness should:
– cover their cough/sneeze
– wash hands frequently
– stay home from work or school
– seek medical advice early for the very young (less than 6 months of age), have chronic medical conditions, of are >65 years of age.
– begin to have trouble breathing, cannot keep fluids down and stay hydrated, or have fever lasting longer than 3-5 days
In addition, as we enter the season when flu is declining, and people begin spring activities, remember that a severe flu-like illness could be caused by the hantavirus!