Tulare County residents are strongly encouraged to get their flu vaccinations, as the influenza infection is on the rise, and the H1N1 strain, the pandemic influenza strain, has been detected. This influenza strain is a component of the current seasonal flu vaccine, so vaccination of everyone over six months of age and particularly anyone with high-risk health conditions is critically important.
"Receiving a flu vaccine this season is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself to stay healthy,” said County Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught. Influenza is a respiratory infection that produces fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, and cough lasting a week or more.
Vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and the vaccination is available at physicians’ offices and local clinics, at many local pharmacies, or through the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA) immunization program. HHSA immunization program staff can be reached at 559/685-5725. At this time, the vaccine is widely available in the community.
It is especially important for high-risk groups to be vaccinated. These groups include:
· Any person with a chronic medical condition that requires frequent medical attention. Examples include asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, and many others.
· Pregnant women
· Any person who will have contact with an infant less than 6 months of age during the influenza season
· Children under the age of five
· Adults 55 years of age and older
Good health habits to practice if you are ill include:
· Stay home if you are ill
· Wash your hands with soap and hot water
· Cover your coughs and sneezes
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth