Fresno County is seeing an increase in seasonal influenza activity including serious effects in a younger population than normal. The increased number of severe cases early in January is unusual. It is too early to know if we have reached the peak of seasonal flu this year.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Certain groups are at higher risk for serious flu complications such as the elderly, young children, and those who are pregnant, obese, immune-compromised, and those who have diabetes, chronic lung and heart disease, or other chronic diseases.
Prevent the Flu
Vaccination is the best protection against influenza infection. Flu vaccination also helps prevent spread of the flu virus from person-to-person. The 2013-14 influenza vaccine protects against flu viruses which are most common during this year's flu season and does include the 2009 H1N1 strain. In accordance with federal and state guidelines, it is recommend that everyone six months of age and older be vaccinated regardless of health status. It is not too late to receive vaccination to help protect against influenza infection.
Residents can also reduce the risk of influenza infection and help prevent spread of the flu virus by:
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Washing hands thoroughly and often
- Staying home when sick.
Click to Download: Tips on how to prevent "The Flu"
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Flu Vaccination is Available
Residents with insurance coverage should contact their health care provider regarding flu vaccination.
Vaccination may also be available at physician's offices, clinics, pharmacies, and at special flu vaccination events promoted in retail stores.
Fresno County Department of Public Health
1221 Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno
Monday through Friday
8:00 am - 12:00 pm & 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
Cost is $6.
Medi-Cal for children and Medicare part B are accepted.
No one will be refused services due to inability to pay.
Additional information regarding flu vaccination opportunities can be found at www.flu.gov
Who Should Get A Seasonal Flu Vaccination?
All people aged 6 months and older: In accordance with federal and state guidelines, it is recommended that everyone six months of age and older be vaccinated each year. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
Especially the following populations:
- People at high risk for severe flu complications
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Anyone who takes care of infants under 6 months of age
- Persons aged 50 years or older
- Persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- Residents of nursing homes and other
long-term care facilities
- Anyone who lives with or cares for people at high risk for flu-related complications. This includes household contacts
- Health-care personnel
- Anyone who wants to protect themselves
- If your child is between 6 months and 8 years of age (up to their 9th birthday), and this is their FIRST flu shot, it is strongly recommended to receive 2 shots (four weeks apart).
Types of Vaccines
The "flu shot" (injection) -recommended for people 6 months and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal spray (FluMist) flu vaccine - recommended for non-pregnant, healthy people (without asthma, diabetes, or other health conditions) between 2-49 years of age.
What is the difference between a cold and a flu?
- Colds can occur throughout the year, but are most common in the late winter and early spring. Flu season generally runs from late fall through early spring.
- The common cold is caused by one of more than 200 different viruses. The flu is also caused by a virus, but tends to be more severe, and the symptoms usually come on much more suddenly.
- In general, the symptoms of a cold are a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, mild chest discomfort, and a dry cough.
- Flu symptoms are usually more severe and tend to come on suddenly, and include weakness, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, fever. (101 - 102 degrees F), chills, coughs and sometimes sneezing, and a stuffy or runny nose.
- Some flu viruses can be prevented with an annual flu shot, but there are no vaccines for cold viruses.
Many people think that "the flu" is any illness with fever or cold-like symptoms, or any illness with stomach or intestinal problems. But what is commonly called "stomach flu" is caused by an unrelated virus, and is more properly called viral gastroenteritis.
- Symptoms of gastroenteritis in adults may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a low fever (less than 101 degrees F). Children may also experience these symptoms, including diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Flu shots are effective only against flu viruses, and not against colds or gastro-intestinal illnesses caused by other viruses.