Baltimore County Now
Della J. Leister, R.N.
Deputy Health Officer, Baltimore County Department of Health
When you think about fall, what comes to mind - colorful leaves, cooler temperatures, getting a flu shot? For those of us at the Baltimore County Department of Health, fall is the time when we promote the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of flu.
The best way to prevent the flu is by knowing the flu FACTS.
Frequently wash your hands.
Washing hands with soap and water at for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Always get an annual flu shot.
Flu viruses are always changing, last season’s flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and an annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.
Cover your cough and sneezes.
Use a tissue to cover your coughs and sneezes; then throw it away. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into the crease of your arm (elbow area) to prevent your droplets from spreading. Never cough or sneeze into your hands.
Take time off from school, work, and social activities if you have symptoms.
People who have the flu often have these symptoms:
· Fever or feeling feverish/chills
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Fatigue (tiredness)
Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse.
If your condition does not improve after taking over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms, and then call you doctor.
If you are looking to “stay in the game,” then plan to get flu shot. The Baltimore County Department will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at seven locations across the county. For more information, go to http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/resources/flu.html or call 410-887-BCHD (2243).