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Jefferson County PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE

Public Health Facility, 531 Meade Street, Watertown, New York 13601

MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release Faith Lustik, Public Information Officer Prevent Services (315) 786-3720

Jefferson County Public Health Service Dispels Flu Myths


Watertown, NY, January 28, 2013 ~ New York State and Jefferson County are continuing to experience significant impact from influenza this season and activity is widespread. As of week ending 1/19/13 New York State has had 22,034 laboratory confirmed cases; 5,257 in the last week alone a 20% increase over the prior week. In the State, 4 pediatric deaths have occurred from influenza with 1 last week. In Jefferson County 698 cases of influenza have been laboratory confirmed. There have been no pediatric deaths in the County. Influenza A continues to be the most common flu reported. The Influenza A virus circulating remains a good match to the 2012-2013 vaccine available. Vaccination remains the key to preventing the spread of flu to family, friends, and coworkers. The JCPHS urges everyone 6 months of age and older to receive an influenza vaccination. For locations of where to receive a vaccination go to www.jcphs.org, click on the vaccine finder link, enter your zip code and find where vaccine is available. Many Myths about the flu are well rooted in the culture. It is important that every individual educate themselves about the following Real Facts about Influenza: Millions of people have received flu vaccines for more than 50 years with an excellent safety record. People who are vaccinated and still become ill with the flu may have less severe symptoms and a quicker recovery than those who have not been vaccinated. One cannot become ill with influenza from the flu shot. The virus is inactive. A sore arm or a low grade fever or achiness as a side effect may be experienced. Many people insist flu came from the shot, but it is simply not possible. It is not too late to get the flu vaccination. Flu seasons are unpredictable. Just because a person had one type of flu does not mean another type might circulate later in the season. The flu season may last until May. Everyone 6 months of age and older needs a yearly flu vaccination. A persons immunity from a vaccine received the last season will have declined over time and different influenza viruses may be present in the next season. In order to be protected against the 3 viruses that research suggests are likely to circulate this season people must receive a yearly flu vaccination. The pain of receiving a shot is nothing compared to the suffering that can be caused by the flu as illness may last 5 days or longer, require hospitalization or even worse. Even healthy people may become very ill from the flu. People with the flu may infect others up to 24 hours before symptoms appear. Flu vaccines work by protecting the body before the flu strikes. Protect yourself, your family and your community by getting a vaccination.

The JCPHS staff continues to promote the following common sense recommendations and precautions to prevent exposure to influenza, including: Stay home when ill with influenza-like illness: fever greater than 100F accompanied by any one of the following - sore throat, runny nose/nasal congestion, or cough. Children should not return to school until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius, measured by mouth) or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Individuals with underlying medical problems who are experiencing flu-like illness should call their health care provider immediately for further guidance. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcoholbased hand cleaners are also effective. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing, sneezing, or spitting. Throw tissue in the trash after use and rewash your hands. When coughing or sneezing and there are no tissues, sneeze into the inside fold of your elbow. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way. Avoid close contact with sick people. Clean items frequently touched by others, such as phones, doorknobs, faucet handles, etc In addition, try to stay in good general health get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

For information on flu prevention please visit www.flu.gov or www.jcphs.org.

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