MADERA COUNTY – Influenza activity is increasing in California, including Madera County, according to the Madera County Public Health Department. Many areas are reporting patients who are critically ill with influenza, including healthy young adults.
The primary strain of influenza circulating so far is the H1N1 strain, which emerged during the 2009 pandemic. This strain causes more illness in children and young adults, compared to older adults.
H1N1 causes severe illness in all age groups. This year’s influenza vaccine protects against the strains of flu circulating in the state, including H1N1.
Dr. Thomas E. Cole, Health Officer, reminds everyone that it’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccination is the best protection available to prevent the flu. It’s important to remember that unlike other vaccinations, it’s necessary to get a flu shot every year.
The vaccine is available now from your physician, many pharmacies, and the Madera County Public Health Department.
Once vaccinated, it takes about two weeks to be fully protected against the flu. It is especially important for pregnant women, persons who are in close contact with children less than 6 months of age, and others at higher risk of severe influenza to be vaccinated.
In addition to getting vaccinated, it’s crucial to practice good health habits, including eating nutritious foods and getting enough sleep. If you become ill, take the following actions to stop the spread of germs:
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your coughs and sneezes
• Wash your hands with soap and water
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Influenza vaccinations are available at the Madera County Public Health Department located at 14215 Road 28, Madera, Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 am and 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm. There is a $5 administration fee, however no one will be denied service due to inability to pay the $5.
For more information, please telephone Madera County Public Health Department at (559) 675-7893 or (800) 427-6897, or visit the Madera County Public Health Department on Facebook.