Experts say the 2019-20 flu season is going to be a rough one.

Rim Country residents are apparently taking that to heart. On Facebook, someone posted that people were lined up at Walmart to get flu shots this past week. Vaccines are available at several locations around town and will also be offered by Walgreens at the upcoming Community Health & Care Fair, which is from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Nov. 2 at Julia Randall Elementary School, 902 W. Main St.

The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that over the course of Sept. 15-28, there were 27 laboratory confirmed influenza cases in the state.

According to the ADHS website, the cases included in this report represent a small proportion of the true number of cases of influenza. Many people do not visit the doctor when ill and doctors should not be expected to run tests on all patients exhibiting influenza-like symptoms

Basics of influenza (flu)

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.

Every year in the Arizona, on average:

• 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu

• More than 4,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications

• About 700 people die from flu.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Flu symptoms

• Fever (usually high)

• Headache

• Extreme tiredness

• Dry cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle aches

• Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

Flu complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications that can be very severe.

Complications from the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu can make chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, worse. Healthy individuals with no chronic medical conditions may suffer from complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections or sinus infections that require additional medical treatment.

How flu spreads

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person by the droplets produced when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Sometimes, touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose may infect people. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

If you get sick

• Stay home from work or school, and rest

• Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids

• Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with fever and body aches

• Wash your hands often to protect other people

• Avoid getting close to other people, especially when coughing or sneezing

• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

See a doctor for serious

problems, including:• When a high fever (more than 101 degrees F) lasts more than 3 to 4 days

• When you are so sick that you or your family cannot take care of you at home

• Extreme dizziness

• An adult not able to take fluids for 24 hours

• An infant who is not taking fluids and is starting to get dehydrated (not wetting diapers)

Not everyone with influenza needs to see a doctor. Most people get better just with rest and fluids.

What the doctor

can do to help• May start antiviral medicine for people at high risk for complications from influenza (such as heart or lung problems or a weakened immune system, people more than 65 years old, or infants)

• Decide if you need additional medicines

• Decide if you need intravenous fluids or hospitalization

Go to an emergency

department if:• Having trouble breathing

• Confused or incoherent

• Having a seizure

For these problems, take the ill person immediately to an emergency department, or call 911.

Preventing the flu

Get vaccinated.

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination. ADHS and CDC recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

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