Protect family against flu, community against spread

HealthWatch

To minimize the spread of influenza this fall and winter, UP Health System – Portage hospital is encouraging all employees, medical personnel and community members to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, with the any age-appropriate flu vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the flu this season and, in turn, protect your family and our community from the spread of illness.

Vaccinations significantly decrease the likelihood of catching the flu and help minimize symptoms if you do get sick.

The best ways to protect against the flu are to:

•Promote herd immunity by getting vaccinated and encouraging friends and family to do the same, especially those at greater risk for serious flu-related complications (children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and those with certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart and lung diseases and more).

•Practice good health habits. Avoid close contact with others. Stay home when you are sick. Practice frequent hand washing. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

•Take flu antiviral drugs when prescribed by a physician. These drugs should be taken within 72 hours of when your symptoms begin.

This year, UP Health System – Portage is pleased to offer opportunities for individuals to get vaccinated at the Express Care walk-in clinic located on Sharon Avenue in Houghton, which is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients, and to help prevent the spread of infection, UP Health System – Portage hospital requests the community to be mindful when visiting friends and loved ones in the hospital:

•If you have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or runny nose, please do not visit.

•Remember to wash your hands before entering and exiting a patient’s room and after leaving the hospital.

•If you are in the hospital for tests or procedures and have a flu-like illness (fever over 100 degrees with a cough, body aches or sore throat), please ask for a mask.

Deb Young is chief nursing officer (CNO) for UP Health System – Portage hospital.

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