Flu Season Peaks This Time of Year
Each winter Puget Sound Fire responds to many 9-1-1 calls where people report “flu-like symptoms”. Here are some flu facts:
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the flu is a virus that infects the respiratory system (nose, throat, lungs, etc.). Unlike many other viral infections, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people.
Each year, 5 – 20% of the U. S. population contracts the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications. It is estimated that there are between 3,000 and 49,000 flu-associated deaths annually. 90% of those deaths are in people 65 years of age or older.
According to a recent news report, 13 people have died in Washington State from the flu.
People at highest risk include:
- Older people – especially those with medical conditions, such as heart disease
- Very young children
- Pregnant women
- Prior illness such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or ear infections
The symptoms of influenza include:
- Rapid onset
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone has a fever who contracts the flu)
- Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
What can you do to prevent you or a family member from contracting this potentially deadly virus?
- Get a flu vaccination which reduces the risk of the flu by up to 60%
- Avoid anyone who potentially has the flu and stay away from others if you are infected
- Wash your hands regularly
- Disinfect commonly touched surfaces in the home (door knobs, phones, handles, etc.)
- Cover your mouth and nose with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing
You can learn more about influenza and other health-related topics at www.cdc.gov.
Contributed by Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority