Flu season arrives early

Jan 7,2014
Flu season in Oregon has started earlier than usual, and the majority of cases are due to the H1N1 strain of influenza A that emerged in 2009.

The good news is that the vaccines available provide protection against the H1N1 strain of flu, and plenty of flu vaccine is available in our community.

If you need a flu vaccine, call your primary care provider. Some Samaritan doctors’ offices schedule special walk-in flu shot days for their patients, and all Samaritan primary care and urgent/walk-in care clinics offer flu vaccinations

If you or a loved one is experiencing flu symptoms, call your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, visit our Find-a-Physician page, or call Samaritan’s Physician Referral Network, toll free, at 1-800-863-5241.

As the flu season progresses it’s important to take precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the flu. To avoid the flu and many other respiratory ailments, the following basic guidelines are recommended:

•  Fully cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (crook of your elbow).
•  Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and regularly, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs are spread.
•  Get your seasonal flu shot
•  If you are sick, stay home – do not go to work, school or out in public.
•  Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

More information about the flu, and what to do if you catch the flu, is available at the Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov/flu, and from the state of Oregon at flu.oregon.gov.

If you plan to visit a friend or family member at a Samaritan Health Services hospital, please be sure to check the hospital website at samhealth.org for the current visitor’s policy as it may change to protect patients from visitors who may be showing signs of illness.
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