02/03/14 Flu activity continues to be widespread in Indiana and is likely to continue for several weeks. The predominant strain this year continues to be the 2009 H1N1 virus. All flu vaccines available this season are designed to protect against this strain.
“The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get vaccinated,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “While most people recover from the flu, some people develop complications, which can be serious. Sadly, every year too many Hoosiers die as a result of complications from flu.”
The number of influenza-related deaths in Indiana this season has now reached 30. St. Joseph and Marion Counties have each experienced six deaths.
The distribution of Indiana flu-related deaths by age group so far this year is:
· 25-49: 9
· 50-64: 10
· 65+: 11
Although there have been no flu deaths reported in Indiana among people younger than 25 years, flu illness is wide-spread in Indiana and deaths continue to be reported. It is not too late to get vaccinated as flu season can last until May. Flu vaccination is recommended for anyone six months of age or older. It is especially important for those at higher risk of complications related to the flu to get vaccinated. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children, people with chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems and the elderly. State health officials also encourage influenza vaccination of health care workers, and household contacts and caregivers of children less than six months of age, as well as household contacts of people at high risk for flu complications.
You can get a flu vaccine at your health care provider office, your local pharmacy or your county health department. A flu vaccine locator tool can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.in.gov. For flu and other health updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/isdh1.
The flu vaccine will protect you from the flu, but it cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Rarely, you may have a headache, muscle aches, or low-grade fever after receiving a flu shot.
Practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent spread of flu and other infectious diseases:
· Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
· Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue.
· Contain: Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.
Contact a health care provider if you experience the following influenza symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated:
· Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater
· Muscle aches
· Sore throat
For more information about Indiana’s 2013-2014 influenza season, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov.