Wintertime is here, and while it hasn’t reached subzero-degree temperatures nor has the snow begun to pile up, there’s still one thing to look out for: the flu. State health officials are urging Hoosiers to be prepared and take preventative steps, as influenza can be very dangerous.
State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin said getting the flu vaccine is the best way to avoid the flu, and for those who don’t like shots, the vaccine is also available in a nasal spray. On top of that, individuals should practice frequent, thorough hand washing and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing their hands first.
The flu is a viral infection of the respiratory tract, spread by respiratory droplets from close contact with infected persons or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. Infection can occur when influenza viruses contact the eyes, mouth or nose and possibly through inhaling droplets from a sneeze or cough.
Currently, Indiana is having normal flu activity, but the Indiana State Department of Health is expecting to see an increase in flu cases as the season continues.
Symptoms of the flu include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, and sore throat.
Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of developing complications related to the flu, including hospitalization and death. High risk individuals include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems and the elderly.
For more information on influenza and the seasonal flu vaccine, visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/25462.htm.