As flu activity continues to increase in New Jersey and nationwide, state health officials are urging residents to take action to fight the flu by following guidelines promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
They should get the flu vaccine, take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs, and take flu antiviral drugs if your health care provider prescribes them.
"Flu vaccination is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves and our families against infection," said state Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd.
CDC says the flu vaccine is a good match for the strains of flu circulating in the community and early data indicates that individuals who are vaccinated have been 62 percent less likely to visit a doctor due to illness from the flu.
To find a nearby flu clinic, visit the Find a Flu Shot Locator at http://nj.gov/health/flu/findflushot.shtml
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year. A flu shot is especially important for people at higher risk of developing flu complications including pregnant women, children under the age of 5, but especially younger than 2 years old, people 65 and older, and people with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV.
The vaccination also important for people who live in long-term care facilities and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu.
Health care workers are encourged to get a flu shot to protect themselves, their families and their patients.
Taking preventative actions such as washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, avoiding close contact with sick people and staying home from work or school if you are sick can also help stop the spread of germs that cause flu.
If you do get the flu stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone except to get medical care. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
If you get the flu, prescription antiviral drugs can treat your illness. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, the very young, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women
For more information see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm
For general flu information and resources, see http://nj.gov/health/flu/generalinfo.shtml
To view weekly reports on flu activity in New Jersey, see http://nj.gov/health/flu/fluinfo.shtml#rep
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