St. Clair County Health Department is reminding residents that the flu season is hitting earlier than normal and how it is important to help control the spread of infection in the home and workplace. Influenza is currently widespread throughout Michigan. Locally, St. Clair County continues to see increases in flu cases. Aggregate reports of influenza-like illness are up. Local hospitals are reporting a higher number of positive influenza results especially in at-risk populations (pregnant women, immediate post-partum women, ICU/vented patients and cases with unusual presentations). Before the holidays, schools were reporting high numbers of illness-related absences. Due to increased numbers, shortages of prescription antiviral medications used to treat influenza illness occurred in the normal medical supply chain. As a result, the Health Department received approval from the State to utilize local Strategic National Stockpiles caches of antivirals to assure the supply remains undisrupted for local pharmacies. Supplies have been delivered to pharmacies in need around the county. SCCHD will continue to provide antivirals to pharmacies until the normal supply chain is able to meet local demand SCCHD is asking everyone to become “flu fighters” and help beat the flu this season. Helpful prevention tips include:
Get vaccinated against the flu. Contact your physician, pharmacy or health department for an appointment.
Stay home when you are sick. Avoid going to school, work or being out in the public for at least 24 hours after being fever free (without the use of medications).
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Social distancing helps protect you and others.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Throw used tissues in the trash. Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
Wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands protects you from germs. Washing with soap and water is the best method. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs can be spread when a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
If possible, keep sick family members separated from well (sleep and eat separately; avoid sharing towels, avoid drinking out of the same cup, etc)
Contact your doctor if you are sick and are not getting better.