For Immediate Release: January 17, 2018
Vermont Department of Health
Know What to Do if You Get the Flu
BURLINGTON – Flu is widespread across the state, and health officials want to make sure Vermonters know what steps to take to prevent becoming ill, and when to seek treatment.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said that flu is on the rise in Vermont, and because the vaccine is less effective against the predominant strain of virus that’s circulating, it’s important that people know what to do if they get sick.
“The H3N2 flu strain is what we are mainly seeing in Vermont and around the country,” said Dr. Levine. “This version of the flu can result in more severe illness, with more severe consequences for some people, though even regular flu can be pretty unpleasant.”
It is not too late to get your flu shot, and this is especially important if you are someone at high risk of complications from the flu. People at high risk include: pregnant women, young children, adults 50 years and older, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma and diabetes.
“Some protection is better than zero protection,” said Dr. Levine. “While the vaccine is less effective against H3N2, it works well against other flu strains that are circulating. Getting vaccinated will also help those who have more trouble handling the flu if they were to get it, especially babies too young to be vaccinated and those who have weakened immune systems.”
Flu can hit older adults particularly hard. Vermonters age 65+ are encouraged to contact their health care provider to discuss getting vaccines that are designed to give older people a stronger immune response. Dr. Levine recommends that older Vermonters contact their doctor as soon as they suspect they may have the flu. “If you start having flu symptoms, talk to your doctor about antiviral treatment right away. Antiviral drugs are most effective within the first 48 hours of the onset of illness.”
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
The Health Department is recommending that Vermonters take steps to prevent flu and to know what to do if they become ill:
- Get vaccinated. Everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot.
- Keep germs from spreading: Wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home if you’re sick.
- If you are at high risk of complications from flu, call you doctor as soon as you become ill.
Find more information about flu prevention and treatment: Healthvermont.gov/flu.
The Health Department offers flu prevention videos and posters translated into multiple languages:
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