North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

It's not too late to get flu shot

 

February 7, 2018 | View PDF

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Local health officials recommend getting the flu vaccine.

Even though the reports of influenza appears to have reached its peak in Snohomish County, health officials are still recommending residents take steps to protect themselves.

"We're hopeful that we're on the downward trend right now," said Heather Thomas, spokesperson for the Snohomish Health District.

For the week ending Jan. 20, the Snohomish Health District reported that 205 people have been hospitalized and 23 people have died due to influenza-related illnesses throughout the county, which is the second-highest number of deaths to have taken place in recent years. The previous flu season from 2016-2017 had 45 deaths reported in Snohomish County.

During the week ending Jan. 13, the health district reported that 170 people had been hospitalized over the course of the flu season with 19 people dying from the illness.

While the numbers of flu reports appear to be on the decline locally, the current season still concerns health officials on a local, state and national level.

As of Jan. 20, 109 deaths in Washington state have been linked to the flu and health officials reported 101 influenza-like outbreaks in 101 long-term health facilities, according to information from the Washington State Department of Health.

The Centers for Disease Control reports a high level of influenza activity in 39 states plus New York City and Puerto Rico. The CDC also reports 37 pediatric deaths attributed to influenza for the season for the week ending Jan. 20.

Even though the trend of reported instances of influenza declines throughout January, Thomas recommended that people should get the flu vaccine.

She also recommended that people take other steps to protect themselves including covering mouth when coughing and frequently wash hands. People should stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without the benefit of medication.

The Snohomish Health District has a handy guide available to help determine if someone should stay home or go to the hospital.

The increase of flu hospitalizations is impacting local medical and EMS services in the county. People in generally good health will recover without needing a visit to a healthcare provider, according to the health district's guide. The guide lists the following guidelines:

If someone or their loved one are sick:

•Please stay home.

•If you leave the house, wear a facemask.

•Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the sleeve of your elbow.

•Drink plenty of fluids and rest.

•Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.

•Don't return to work or school until fever is gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

When to call a healthcare provider

•If you're pregnant.

•If you have a medical condition such as cancer, blood disorder or chronic illness.

•Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with a fever and worse cough

•Severe or persistent vomiting

Warning signs that may need urgent medical attention

•Fast breathing or trouble breathing

•Bluish skin color or lips (call 911 immediately)

•Unable to drink or keep liquids down

•Confusion or can't wake up

•Being so irritable that a child does not want to be held

nFever in an infant under 3 months old

For more information about influenza in Snohomish County, go to http://www.snohd.org/flu.

 

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