Wyoming’s influenza activity at high level


SWEETWATER COUNTY – There are increased reports of high flu activity across the state. Sweetwater County Health Officer and Sweetwater County Public Health representatives are encouraging residents to take common-sense steps to avoid becoming ill with influenza or spreading it to others.

According to Sweetwater County Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon, influenza activity has sharply increased across the state, particularly over the past two weeks “Unfortunately, there are quite a few ill people out there right now.”

Sweetwater County Board of Health Director Kim Lionberger, MSN, RN, said basic common-sense measures can help slow or prevent influenza’s spread.

“Covering your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze and cough; frequently washing your hands; and staying home from work, school, day care and errands when you are ill can help,” Lionberger said.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus, and therefore, antibiotics are not effective. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. It can cause severe illness and complications, particularly among older people and the very young.

“If you become ill, be sure to get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol or tobacco,” Stachon said. “You may also take over the counter medications to relieve your symptoms, but avoid giving products containing aspirin to children or teens with flu-like symptoms.”

Doctors may recommend prescription antiviral medications to help treat influenza.

“For antiviral medications to be an option, it should be started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms” Stachon added.

Flu vaccines are also available in many locations.

“However, it takes up to two weeks for flu vaccines to offer possible effective protection,” Stachon said. “If you’re exposed to the flu virus during the interim you may still become ill with influenza, but it will not be caused by the vaccine.”

Preventive measures especially handwashing remain important.

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