According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) large numbers of reports of flu infections and hospitalizations are being reported from all regions of the state.
ADH encourages everyone six months of age or older to get a flu vaccine.
The ADH says the flu vaccine is the single best protection against the flu and is very effective in preventing flu infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The vaccine provides 60-80 percent protection against the flu and provides roughly 70-90 percent protection against flu-related hospitalization.
According to the ADH those most at risk for severe flu-related complications include:
- pregnant women
- children under the age of five
- people 65 years or older
- people with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease or weakened immune systems
Those who are at high risk of flu-related complications are encouraged to visit their doctor if they develop flu-like symptoms including cough, high fever, headache and/or muscle aches. Children's flu symptoms may also include vomiting or diarrhea.
The flu vaccine takes 10 days to two weeks to become effective and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Flu vaccines are available at local health units, private doctor's offices, pharmacies and major retailers statewide.
To keep from spreading the flu cover your cough or sneeze. Also wash hands frequently and avoiding persons who may be sick.
If you should become ill, stay at home to get well until your fever has returned to normal for more than 24 hours and your symptoms have improved.