MVSD Encourages Primary Prevention of Influenza in Response to Marin Deaths

Two dead in Marin County from the H1N1 swine flu. Read CDC Flu symptoms, where to get a flu shot in Mill Valley, and information from the Mill Valley School District.

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The Mill Valley Middle School District stated in an email this week, "It's not too late to get the flu vaccine," announcing to students and parents that influenza is occurring in Marin County, and it is only the beginning of flu season.

Although there have been no confirmed cases of influenza in the Mill Valley Middle School District, there have been reports from Marin County Health Department of several young and middle aged adults recently hospitalized with influenza.    

At least eight Bay Area deaths attributed to the flu, including two Marin County residents.

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its Flu Symptom and Severity fact sheet at the start of the 2013 - 2014 flu season.

Where to get a flu shot.

Are you coughing your head off, blowing your nose nonstop or you feel as if you can't drag yourself out of bed?

According to the CDC, here's how to tell if you have the flu:

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

People at Higher Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Flu Severity

Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:

  • what flu viruses are spreading,
  • how much flu vaccine is available,
  • when vaccine is available,
  • how many people get vaccinated, and
  • how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness.
MVSD asks parents/guardians to please review good health habits with your children, such as:
  • Covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and disposing of the tissue immediately in a proper trash receptacle
  • Refraining from touching the eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs
  • Washing the hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Using an alcohol-based hand rub when soap and water are not immediately available
  • Stay home if you are getting ill

Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


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