Flu, Mumps – Stay healthy this Winter

It’s the time of year when we stay indoors and are more likely to have concerns about spreading viruses. This year the flu and mumps are making headlines. Here is some information. We hope you and your family can stay well. If you have fallen ill, we hope you recover quickly.

Flu information

This is a link to Flu Patient Information from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health flupatientinfoDepartment, posted in this graphic.

What should you do to protect yourself from flu this season?

The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting yourself against this serious disease.

As well as getting the flu vaccine, you can take preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands frequently to reduce the spread of germs. If you have the flu, stay home from work or school, prevent spreading flu to others. There are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Visit What you Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs for more information.

For 2016-2017, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Mumps

This year in Washington State there are several cases of the Mumps. The best protection mumps-1-5-2017against mumps is the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella viruses.

Mumps is best known for causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw, the result of swollen salivary glands. The symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite

Meningitis and encephalitis are rare complications of mumps. Some people get no symptoms at all. The disease also can cause swelling of other glands, such as the testicles.

Potential complications of mumps include hearing loss, meningitis (swelling of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), and brain damage. Complications often require medical treatment. In rare cases, mumps is deadly. Adults are more likely than children to become very sick with mumps.

Stay well and have a great new year!

(Information gathered from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control)
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