Widespread Flu Activity in Arizona
January 5, 2018
Submitted by Tribal Health Department
Gila River Indian Community
Influenza, more commonly called flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu virus can spread when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or talk near others or by touching a surface that the virus landed on and then touching your face. Flu symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Headaches and fatigue.
In some cases flu illness can lead to hospitalization or death. Currently in Arizona there have been over 5,000 cases of flu and over 21,000 cases nationally. As a comparison, last year at this time there were only 552 cases of flu that had been reported in Arizona. The majority of the country is also seeing widespread flu activity. Typically the flu season peaks around the end of January or beginning of February.
The CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone of the age of 6 months but is especially important for people at high risk of flu complications which include children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people who suffer from other health conditions such as Asthma, Diabetes, or weakened immune systems. While it will take approximately 2 weeks after the vaccine is given to build full immunity, it is not too late to get your flu shot by presenting to Walk-in Clinic at Gila River Health Care 520-562-3321, Komatke Health Center 520-550-6000 or Ak Chin Health Center 520-568-3881.
In addition to getting the vaccine other steps that can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus include; avoiding contact with sick people, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and washing your hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Other recommendations are to disinfect surfaces that can become contaminated with the flu virus and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Lastly, if you are ill avoid contact with others to avoid spreading the virus. If you have a fever, you should stay away from other for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without the use of fever reducing medications.