Public Health Solutions reports that influenza activity in Nebraska continues to be widespread, but seems to have peaked in the last few weeks. Influenza A is responsible for about 88% of the flu viruses causing illness, and there have been at least 18 lab-confirmed flu deaths in Nebraska since October 2017. Five of those occurred within the counties served by PHS.
Fortunately, there is still flu vaccine available and getting a flu shot is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from influenza. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions are at increased risk for severe complications from the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and fatigue.
Besides getting a flu shot, you can also protect yourself and your family from flu by:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Washing your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing.
- Not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching door knobs, phones, and computer key boards.
- Cleaning/disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home, school, and work.
- Practicing other good health habits, like getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating a healthy diet.
- Seeking medical attention early if you feel that you may have the flu. Taking an anti viral medication within the first 48 hour of flu symptoms can greatly reduce the severity and length of your illness.
If you would like information on getting a flu shot, contact your healthcare provider or call Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880 for information on a clinic near you.