November 4, 2015

What You Need to Know this Flu SeasonFlu season has arrived early this year. Cases of influenza – an infection of the nose, throat and lungs – have already been reported, according to the Genesee County Health Department (GCHD).

The best way to protect yourself against the virus’ trademark cough, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches and fever? Get the vaccination.

“The vaccine is made based on last year’s predictions for what strains will be most prevalent in the community,” said Christine Rygiel, Epidemiologist at GCHD. “This year, they’re finding that the strain that is going around right now – especially in Genesee County – matches the one in the vaccine. It’s going to be more effective than it was last year.”

For people who don’t like shots, Rygiel recommends FluMist, a nasal spray that’s just as effective as the traditional flu shot.

You can also protect yourself and others by washing your hands often with soap and water, and covering your coughs and sneezes. Most importantly, those who are sick should stay home. People infected with the flu may be able to infect others from one day before getting sick to about five to seven days after getting sick.

Most people recover from the flu at home without medical assistance. However, if the following warning signs are present, seek prompt medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to fully kick in and is widely available in Genesee County.

For a list of local pharmacies providing the vaccination, click here.

The GCHD will also offer the vaccine at several clinics through the end of the year. For a full list of locations, dates and times, click here.