STAMFORD, CT - The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Mayor of Stamford, is working to build public awareness about the flu and measures to prevent infection. According to the State Department of Public Health, 683 positive cases of influenza have been reported throughout the state for the current season as of January 4.
“We are experiencing an increase in the number of cases reported in Stamford and are making a special effort over the next month to heighten public awareness about the flu and how to prevent infection,” said Anne Fountain, Director of Health & Social Services.
Seasonal influenza, commonly called “the flu” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
• Fever or feeling feverish/chills
• Muscle or body aches
• Sore throat `
• Fatigue (very tired)
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Vomiting and/or diarrhea
Mayor David Martin strongly urged everyone to take necessary steps to avoid contracting the flu. “We must be proactive in preventing the spread of the flu in the community. Everyone is vulnerable, including children, adults, and seniors, and should take preventative measures to remain healthy,” Martin said.
These steps include:
• Getting your flu vaccination.
• Washing your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs spread this way.
• Avoiding close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
• Practicing good health habits including: getting plenty of sleep and exercise, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating healthy food.
• Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throwing the tissue in the trash after you use it.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older receive a yearly vaccine to protect themselves. “Fortunately, there is a vaccine that helps prevent the flu. Area residents can receive their annual vaccine by their medical provider or at their local pharmacy and many pharmacies accept health insurance,” according to Fountain. Everyone is at risk of getting the flu. Those who run a high risk of serious flu complications include: young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.
For more information about influenza, and for help getting vaccinated, visit www.flu.gov.