Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Offers Tips to Get Through the Flu Season
Claxton-Hepburn is here to help the community get through this year’s flu season. As Americans scramble to find dwindling supplies of flu vaccine, there are signs that this flu season, the worst in recent years, may be winding down in some areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, most areas in our region are continuing to experience high levels of influenza or influenza-like illness. Some areas may have peaked, while other areas are still on the upswing. With the nation in the midst of a severe influenza outbreak, that has seen deaths reach epidemic levels, New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has declared a public health emergency in the state, making access to vaccines more easily available. In New York State, so far, some 19,000 cases of flu, in all 57 counties and the five boroughs of New York City, have been reported so far, in comparison to the reported 4,400 cases last year.
The vaccines available for the strains of flu this year are deemed moderately effective; they can prevent flu cases severe enough to require a doctor’s visit about 62 percent of the time. According to the CDC, makers of the flu vaccine produced about 135 million doses for this year. As of early this month, 128 million doses had been distributed. While that would not be enough for every American, only 37 percent of the population gets a flu shot each year. Some shortages of vaccine have been reported, but with some searching people should be able to find one. The lesson for future years is get your flu shot. According to Claxton-Hepburn’s Infection Control Nurse, Vicki Hockenbery, RN, “It’s not too late to get your flu shot as there is still plenty of flu season to get through.” She continued, “At Claxton-Hepburn, we are taking all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the flu by requesting visitors with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, body aches) avoid coming to visit patients in the hospital. If you are coming here for services and have a flu-like illness please consider wearing a mask.”
The CDC says “Take 3” actions to fight the flu as follows:
Visit the CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu and how to care for someone at home who is sick with the flu. In the event that you need a flu vaccine or medical care for the flu, Claxton-Hepburn’s medical staff is here for you and your family. For more information about our physicians, emergency department or clinics, visit us on the web at www.claxtonhepburn.org or call us at 1-888-908-2462.