Flu Season 2013-2014 (January 2014 Update)
Statewide flu activity has been widespread. Across the country and within California and Alameda County, influenza A (pH1N1), which is in the 2013-2014 flu vaccine, has been the main strain this season. Since 2009, pH1N1 has been observed to cause more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults, yet severe illness has been in all age groups. Vaccination and good hygiene and infection control practices remain the best protection against flu. It is not too late to get vaccinated!
See Health Alerts: Influenza Activity in Alameda County for additional information and updates.
What is Flu?
The Flu is a common infectious disease caused by influenza (flu) viruses. The flu usually affects a person's nose, throat and lungs. The virus spreads easily from person to person and can lead to serious illness and even death.
The usual signs and symptoms of the flu are cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and feeling very tired. Most people also have a fever. Others may throw-up and have diarrhea.
How is Flu Spread?
The flu spreads through tiny wet drops produced when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. A person can get the flu by breathing in these wet drops, or by touching items and surfaces covered with these drops and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
People who have the flu may spread it to others about 1 day before getting sick to 5-7 days after. Children and people with weak immune systems can spread the flu virus for a longer period of time. However, people are most contagious during the first three days of illness.
This means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Almost half of the people with the flu virus do not know that they have the flu and continue with their daily activities.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family?
Get a vaccine: It is important for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine this fall and winter. This year's flu shot will protect against the H1N1 swine flu virus and 2-3 other flu viruses. Please contact your medical provider or go to our list of flu clinics.
Protect yourself: Know how you can protect yourself and others and stay healthy.
If you are sick: We recommend that you stay home and stay away from others until 24 hours after your fever is gone. For more information go to If You Are Sick.