Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu
October 16, 2017
First, get vaccinated. This is the best form of protection against the virus. While it is still possible to contract the flu after receiving a vaccination, it is much less likely. Furthermore, studies have shown that flu vaccinations can make your illness milder, if you do get sick. This year, the CDC recommends that all individuals get the flu shot – not the nasal spray vaccination. To get your flu shot, you can visit the Public Health Department, a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your physician’s office. If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit our website and browse our Physician Finder MyHaywoodRegional.com/FindADoc, or call 800.424.DOCS (3627).
Other important preventative measures you can take include:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoiding sharing food, cups or eating utensils
- Disinfecting your home and belongings, such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas
- Staying home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, and NOT your bare hands
- Getting a flu shot
- Calling your local hospital or your primary care doctor with any questions
Haywood Regional also is taking the appropriate steps at our facility to prevent the flu from spreading. We are doing this by:
- Providing masks to all visitors and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms
- Setting up stations throughout the facility stocked with tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors to get their flu shot if they have not already done so
- Providing educational materials to all visitors about everyday preventative actions
- Visitation restrictions - for more information please click HERE
If you or a loved one begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or upper respiratory symptoms, please see your doctor right away. Early detection is especially important for young children, elderly populations, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues. When detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days.
In addition, limit contact with others as much as possible immediately after noticing symptoms. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities.
During flu season and year-round, Haywood Regional is here to help with your healthcare needs. If you have any questions or concerns about this year’s flu season, our dedicated staff can help.
For additional information about influenza, visit www.cdc.org/flu or contact the Public Health Department.
The following practices are now offering flu vaccines:
|Haywood Family Practice Canton||119 Park Street, Canton||828.235.3023|
|Haywood Medical Associates||16 Physician Drive, Waynesville||828.456.9836|
|Mountain Medical Associates||40 Brettwood Trace, Clyde||828.456.8633|
|Mountain Pediatric Group||24 Falcon Crest Lane, Clyde||828.452.8878|
|Waynesville Family Practice||1272 East Street, Waynesville||828.456.3511|
Misconceptions about Flu Vaccines:
Can a flu shot give you the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been 'inactivated' and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.
In randomized, blinded studies, where some people get inactivated flu shots and others get salt-water shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.
Can I get the shot while pregnant?
(Source: Centers of Disease Control & Prevention) Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth from flu. Studies in young healthy adults show that getting a flu shot reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% during seasons when the flu vaccine is well-matched to circulating viruses. There also are studies that show that a baby whose mother was vaccinated during her pregnancy is protected from flu infection for several months after they are born, before the baby is old enough to be vaccinated. Pregnant women should get an inactivated influenza vaccine (flu shot); the nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant. LEARN MORE
Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season.
Learn more misconceptions at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm