Flu activity is now widespread throughout Maryland and County health officials are urging all residents to get vaccinated and practice prevention measures to avoid the spread of illness. “The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County Health Officer. “If you haven’t received a flu shot yet, there is still time to get one and help protect you and those around you.”
In addition, there are every day actions that everyone can take to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza (flu):
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.
Hospitals in Montgomery County are all experiencing increased flu activity and are implementing visitor restrictions to help protect the health of patients, staff and other visitors. Visitors at all six hospitals who exhibit flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and muscle aches will not be allowed to enter the hospital. Children under the age of 12 will not be allowed in any area, except in urgent situations. In these cases, they may be asked to wear masks. If a visitor who must be at the facility exhibits flu symptoms, they will be asked to wear a mask. Hospitals will continue these precautions until flu activity slows down.
“It is important to prevent further spread of illness by limiting visitors and it is vital that the public help hospitals and health care staff do that by limiting contact with those already ill,” said Gayles.
To find out where to get a flu shot, visit https://vaccinefinder.org. For more information about the flu, visitwww.cdc.gov/flu.