Each year, 5-20% of the worldwide population will become ill with influenza. In the United States, influenza and its complications cause an average of 36,000 deaths and 226,000 hospitalizations, as well as countless hours of missed work and medical expenses. Influenza often leads to secondary infections such as pneumococcal pneumonia. Children, newborn through 5 years, are at an especially high risk of complications, as are people over 65 years and those of any age with reduced immune systems.
Prevention of influenza requires a two-pronged attack:
1. Reduce transmission of the virus
- Frequent hand washing
- Cover sneezes and coughs
- Stay home when you’re sick
- Clean work and household surfaces often
- Wear a mask if you have a compromised immune system
- Ask your family, friends, and health providers to get a flu vaccination
2. Reduce susceptibility to the virus
- Get an annual influenza vaccination
- Get plenty of sleep
- Exercise and eat well
- Manage any chronic conditions
More resources here at www.flu.oregon.gov.