Flu Season 2017-18

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(Updated September 22, 2017)

What is the Flu?

Influenza (the Flu) is a serious disease spread by coughs and sneezes and caused by influenza A or B viruses, mainly during the winter season.  It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Signs and symptoms include fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, and weakness. A sore throat, and runny nose can also be present. The best way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu vaccination each year.

How is the Flu Spread?

The flu virus spreads through the tiny wet droplets inadvertently produced when an infected 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, and are most contagious during the first three days of feeling sick. Children and people with weak immune systems can spread the flu virus for a longer period of time.

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:

The Alameda County Public Health Department, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.  The nasal spray vaccine is not available 2017-18 influenza season. This means all flu vaccines will be administered as injections (shots), like most other vaccines. Here is more information on who should be receiving which type of vaccine.  The best place to receive a flu vaccine is at your doctor’s office, but there are also lots of other options, like clinics or sites on this flu locator website.

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.

Shoo the Flu

We are delighted to be a part of a large flu prevention program entitled Shoo the Flu.  We have teamed up with Oakland Unified School District, the California Department of Public Health,  and the Page Family Foundation to offer free flu shots to every elementary school student in the city of Oakland.  It is an exciting project from which we hope to learn a great deal about protecting our community from the flu. Visit the Shoo the Flu website for more information.

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