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Flu cases strike the gorge

Cases of influenza have been reported to North Central Public Health District in recent weeks.

To be clear, influenza, also known as “the flu,” is primarily a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache, nausea, chills and fatigue. Many respiratory viruses have similar symptoms, but influenza tends to be more severe. Occasionally, vomiting or diarrhea may be present, especially in children.

Oregon has had higher rates of influenza than are normally seen at this time of year and, unlike most years, the vast majority of hospitalizations are among persons younger than 65 years of age.

Influenza vaccine is still available, and this year’s vaccine is a good match for what is circulating.

There is no shortage of flu vaccine this year, and it is not too late to get vaccinated. Most people will develop immunity within two weeks of being vaccinated. Effectiveness of vaccine in preventing illness is affected by individual immune system strength.

Because of this, high vaccination rates in the community may be the best way to protect those whose immune systems are weakened or infants who are too young to be vaccinated. Immunization is recommended for everyone over six months of age. There is probably nothing easier to protect your health than to get vaccinated!

If you still need to be vaccinated, please contact your local provider. Local pharmacies also have vaccine available. You may also contact North Central Public Health District at 541 506-2600.

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