Influenza Update

The flu season has hit the nation, Wisconsin, and the local area hard this year. Along with influenza many people are fighting a gastrointestinal virus that is also making people ill. Area long term care facilities are noting cases of illness in their facilities and are asking the public to be cautious if visiting a family member or loved one.

Influenza is a contagious disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract, nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, sometimes leading to death. Influenza symptoms often begin suddenly, with fever, headache, tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

The best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated each year. In addition to the flu shot, there are simple steps that can be taken to protect yourself and others from illness: Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use; Never share drinking cups, straws, and utensils;

When possible, avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms; Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest, and do not smoke; Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, like doorknobs, the refrigerator handles, your phone, and faucets; and if you are sick, stay home. Get rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using tobacco and alcohol.