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Smart Tips for Keeping Yourself and Your Family Healthy this Flu Season

Influenza (“flu”) and other winter respiratory viruses spread in our communities every winter season, and this season is no different.  Follow these smart practices to reduce your chance of catching the flu and other winter respiratory viruses:

Protect yourself from the flu by getting your flu shot and following the simple steps listed below. And, stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, exercising daily, getting enough rest and drinking fluids. Quit smoking. If you smoke, you’re more likely to catch colds and take longer to recover. Flu season is a great time to quit!

Stay informed by keeping up-to-date by listening to radio & television, reading news stories and checking out the web.

These simple steps can help stop the spread of flu germs:

• Wash hands often - using soap and water.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, in the fold of your arm. Put used tissues in the trash and then wash your hands.
• Stay home if you are sick and as much as possible, stay away from others.
• Don’t send sick children to school or daycare.

Flu vaccine availability in Santa Clara County:

Need flu shot? It’s not too late!

The Public Health Department recommends that you check with your medical provider and/or local pharmacies first to get a flu vaccine. The website www.findaflushot.com is a helpful resource, but please call ahead to make sure flu shots are in stock.

You may also call the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s Adult/Travel Clinic for flu shot availability at (408) 792-5200. Vaccines provided at the clinic are for adults only (over the age of 18). No shots for children are available.

Clinic hours are as follows:

Monday through Friday 8:00am-11:30am, and 1:00pm-4:00pm

(Please note: every third Thursday afternoon of the month, the clinic is closed in the afternoon).

Link for Flu Vaccine Locator by zip code:

What to do if you or someone in your family is sick:

• Stay at home, and keep sick kids at home.
• Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest
• Adults with the flu should see a doctor if they have:
    -Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    -Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
    -Sudden dizziness
    -Confusion
    -Severe or persistent vomiting
    -Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever or   worse cough

What to Do When You Think Your Child Has the Flu 

If your child has a fever, especially with another symptom, keep them home. If your child just doesn’t look or feel well, and has one or more symptoms of the flu, keep them home. And keep them home until at least 24 hours have passed since they’ve been fever free off of fever-reducing medicines like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen.

Flu symptoms include: fever (temperature of 100° F or greater), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. 

• Call or see a doctor if:

    -Your child is younger than two years old. 
    -Your child is more ill than you would expect. 
    -Fever persists for more than three days. 
    -Symptoms include being weary or sluggish, and the child does not improve after taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen. 
    -Your child has an existing chronic illness or some other risk factor. 
    -Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

• Go to the emergency department if your child shows the any of the following symptoms:

    -Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    -Bluish or gray skin color (call 911 immediately)
    -Not drinking enough fluids
    -Continued vomiting
    -Seizures
    -Not waking up or not interacting
    -Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
    -Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Please remember, most healthy children and adults will recover from the flu without any special medical attention. Just watch for these worsening symptoms and if these happen, get to medical care right away.

Facts about the flu vaccine:

While the flu vaccine does not protect you against other winter respiratory and cold viruses, being vaccinated this year will give you a better chance of avoiding the flu in the first place, and will reduce the severity of the flu if you do contract it.  It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect and begin protecting you.  The vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months.  People over 65 and anyone with a chronic condition or compromised immune system (such as those with diabetes) are particularly vulnerable, and should get vaccinated. 

Link to printable posters about staying healthy during flu and cold season:
 
 
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