Avoiding the Flu this Season

December 19, 2019 – It might be the most wonderful time of year,
but there’s one thing that can turn it into Health Department Buildingthe most miserable time instead: the flu. Colder weather and increased time indoors bring this unwelcome illness around more commonly in the fall and winter, though flu viruses can be found all year round.

So far this season, 322 cases of influenza have been reported in Jackson County as of December 17, according to the Jackson County Health Department. 268 of those have been confirmed as the flu. Although the department is seeing more cases earlier this year, it is still too early to determine if this season will be particularly severe.

Some populations are more at risk for complications from the flu, including adults over 65, children under two, pregnant women,  people living in long term care facilities and patients with compromised immune systems.

A little extra care can go a long way toward preventing sickness. Avoid sneezing or coughing into hands, or touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water, and disinfect high-contact surfaces often to lessen your risk.

Ray Dlugolecki, Health Promotions Department Manager at the Jackson County Health Department, says that to protect yourself and those around you, getting a flu shot every year is essential. Although the vaccine may not be 100% effective against all strains, it will reduce the severity of the illness if you do get sick. Flu shots given during pregnancy help protect both the mother and her baby from flu. Vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about one-half.

If you don’t have a regular health care provider, free or low cost flu shots are available at the Jackson County Health Department at 313 S. Liberty Street in Independence, open 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Monday-Friday. Call 816-404-6416 to set up an appointment today and don’t let the flu stop you this winter!