Health department: It’s not too late for flu shot

From Local Sources

JASPER — The Dubois County Health Department is advising that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.

The department is receiving high-prevalence reports of influenza-like illness in the state, with a reported 45 influenza-associated deaths in Indiana as of Jan. 31. Also, there have been four schoolwide outbreaks this season in Indiana.

The Dubois County Health Department has had only one school call to notify that their percentage of students absent from school was equal to 20% of their enrolled students. Per Indiana Code, public and accredited non-public schools are required to report to the local health department and the state attendance officer of the Department of Education the percentage of student absences when the percentage of students absent from a school is equal or greater than 20% of the enrolled students.

According to the local health department, the single best way to prevent the flu is for individuals to get a vaccination. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine, the department says. No prescription is required, and no appointment is necessary. Additional late-night, walk-in clinics will be held 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, and Wednesday, March 4, at the Dubois County Health Department, 1187 South St. Charles St., Jasper.

The department has the regular pediatric and adult vaccine, as well as the high-dose influenza vaccine still available. Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza, so for those aged 65 and up, the department recommends the high dose.

Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of flu complications. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. Those with weakened immune systems may not be able to fight the flu and may need hospitalized for treatment.

Other ways to prevent spread of disease is to:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Stay home when you are sick. Get plenty of rest.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Consider wearing a mask.

• Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

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