Posted by Christina Jedra January 11, 2013 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by Winchester Hospital:
If you watched the news recently, then you’re aware that the flu season is occurring earlier and is more vigorous than in past years.
According to the Department of Public Health, this strain of the flu, called H3N2, is a good match with this season’s flu vaccine. And unlike in past years, this flu vaccine is readily available. While it’s too early to tell how this current flu season will play out, there has been a significant rate of hospitalization so far this year and it is expected to continue and possibly increase as we make our way through January.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect Myself and My Family During The Flu Season?
Eat right and get enough rest.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way. Avoid any person who is coughing, sneezing or has respiratory illness.
Know the symptoms of influenza: sudden fever, aches and pains, headache, chills, sore throat, possibly sudden dizziness, cough, head and lung congestion, fatigue and possibly diarrhea/nausea.
You shouldn’t go to work and children shouldn’t go to school with symptoms. CDC recommends staying home and limiting contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Wash hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer or wipes, especially when in public.
You shouldn’t visit friends or family members in the hospital if you have symptoms, unless it is necessary to do so.
Typically the H3N2 seasons have been more severe, with higher numbers of hospitalizations and death, but this predominant strain is covered in the 2012-2013 flu vaccine. Although the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, it can reduce the severity of symptoms, hospitalizations and deaths.
About Winchester Hospital
Winchester Hospital is the first community hospital in Massachusetts to earn Magnet recognition, the American Nurses Association’s highest honor for nursing excellence. As the northwest suburban Boston area’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services, the 229-bed facility provides care in general, bariatric and vascular surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, gastroenterology, rehabilitation, radiation oncology, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery. Winchester Hospital has clinical affiliations with several nationally recognized hospitals in the region, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. To learn more, visit www.winchesterhospital.org.