More than 30 people have died due to complications from the flu in Dallas County during the 2017-2018 flu season. Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported that the patients were between 38 and 94 years of age. All had underlying health conditions and died from complications due to the seasonal flu. With that in mind, it’s important for students to take precautions to remain healthy.
“Take the flu shot, although I will say from all the media and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) they’re saying the flu shot isn’t really covering all of the influenza types that are out there. The main thing to know is if you have any other chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung issues or anything that’s chronic you’re more susceptible to having a bad reaction to influenza,” said Caroline White, RN with the Richland Health Center.
A survey conducted by CityMD Urgent Care showed that more than half of millennials are not getting the flu shot. The survey found that 42 percent of all American adults had no plans to get a flu shot. Also, 52 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 did not get the shot. Those surveyed said they weren’t getting the shot because they don’t trust that it would keep them from getting the flu. Forty-nine percent of millennials said this is the reason they don’t get the vaccine.
White said the flu shot cannot make you sick. “It is not a live virus so it cannot give you the flu, but anytime you get any type of immunization, no matter what it is, you are introducing something new to your body that your body isn’t used to having,” said White. “If you’re healthy, your immune system is going to kick in and go ‘We don’t like this’ and it may give you a 99-degree fever because that’s your immune system kicking in, doing what it’s supposed to do to fight against something that’s coming into the body.”
White offered some common sense tips to prevent spreading the flu or contracting it: Try to avoid contact with sick people; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw it in the trash immediately. Also, wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water. If that’s not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because germs spread this way. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
“If you go around a large group of people and people are hacking, coughing and sneezing, I would probably remove myself from that,” White said. She added that this is the time of year where you need to take precautions and even if you feel like you need to come to work or school when you have a fever, do not do it. “Everybody should understand.”
For more information on flu prevention www.cdc.gov/flu.