Flu season starts in Grand Forks regionGet vaccinated, wash your hands, cough or sneeze into the crook of an elbow or a shoulder and stay home when you don’t feel well. That pretty much sums up advice from Grand Forks Public Health at the start of the area’s flu season.
By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald
Get vaccinated, wash your hands, cough or sneeze into the crook of an elbow or a shoulder and stay home when you don’t feel well.
That pretty much sums up advice from Grand Forks Public Health at the start of the area’s flu season.
Carolyn Kaltenberg, a public health nurse, said more infections are expected to emerge in the coming months, peaking sometime around February and March, and it’s never too late to get vaccinated.
Influenza is caused by a kind of virus that mutates easily, changing widely from year to year and making it hard to retain immunity. The virus spreads from victim to victim, sometimes crossing species, by way of droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk.
This year’s vaccine includes the H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, that caused a pandemic in 2009 and 2010. It also includes two other variants of the flu virus that public health officials around the world agreed would be the most common in the Northern Hemisphere during this flu season.
Kaltenberg said there should still be vaccines available around the area at pharmacists and healthcare providers. Grand Forks Public Health still has a supply and accepts walk-in visits, she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, groups most at risk of flu infection include young children, seniors, pregnant women, American Indians and those with certain medical conditions, such as asthma.
Children are at risk mostly because they don’t have good hygiene skills and can develop complications, such as ear infections. Seniors have weaker immune systems as they age.
Pregnancy affects women’s immune system, and their unborn children are also vulnerable.
American Indians appear to be at greater risk, but this may have more to do with the higher rate of chronic illnesses that afflict this population, such as diabetes, and lack of access to health care.
Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send email to email@example.com.