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 FACTS.
Frequently wash your hands.
Washing hands with soap and warm water for 20-30 seconds is the best form of protection to reduce the spread of germs. If soap and water are 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 annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season.
Cover your coughs 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, call your doctor.
If you are looking to “stay in the game,” plan to get a flu shot. The Baltimore County Department of Health will offer free flu shots on Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at seven locations while supplies last. For more information, call 410-887-BCHD (2243).