Family Preparedness Friday

Shoo Flu, Don’t Bother Me

 

Unless you’ve been out of touch with everyone around you lately, you’ve heard everyone talking about the flu.

It seems to be taking the country by storm and affecting the young and old alike. Some are reporting this season’s flu as pandemic in proportion, but that in fact is incorrect. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report that the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was above the epidemic threshold.

What’s the difference between pandemic and epidemic?

  • Pandemic – occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population
  • Epidemic – affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time

So, how can you protect your child?

  • Get yourself and your child vaccinated with the flu vaccineAnyone over the age of 6 months is recommended to get the flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season.
  • Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.
  • Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues. Covering up their coughs or sneezes using the elbow, arm or sleeve instead of the hand when a tissue is unavailable.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.
  • Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs.  Keeping children with a fever at home will reduce the number of people who may get infected.
  • Do not send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home.

For more information on preparing for flu, check out flu.gov.

Human Influenza 2012-2013 called Epidemic and is not a Pandemic

Reported this morning was the 2012-2013 Human Influenza is a pandemic, it is not a pandemic but  an epidemic in many states.  The Centers for Disease Control  (CDC) released this statement late last week explaining why they believe the influenza is so severe this year:

“One factor that may indicate increased severity this season is that the predominant circulating type of influenza virus is influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which account for about 76 percent of the viruses reported. Bresee explains “typically ‘H3N2 seasons’ have been more severe, with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, but we will have to see how the season plays out.”

So far this season, most (91%) of the influenza viruses that have been analyzed at CDC are like the viruses included in the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine. The match between the vaccine virus and circulating viruses is one factor that impacts how well the vaccine works. But Bresee cautions that other factors are involved.

“While influenza vaccination offers the best protection we have against influenza, it’s still possible that some people may become ill despite being vaccinated,” says Bresee. “Health care providers and the public should remember that influenza antiviral medications are a second line of defense against influenza.” (For more information about why people may become sick with influenza after vaccination, see 2012-2013 season Questions and Answers.)”

The CDC recommends three steps to prevent the flu and they are, vaccination, take everyday preventive actions, and if prescribed by your doctor take flu antivirals.  For more detailed information see CDC link on these three steps.

 

Kim Cassel