Children's Health, Flu Season, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

National Handwashing Awareness Week

It’s not the most glamorous subject, we admit, but boy is it important. Here’s why handwashing should not be ignored. 

Experts recommend washing your hands with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to get a good lather going and clean the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Dry your hands using a clean towel. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls handwashing a “do-it-yourself vaccine” and suggests using five easy steps: 

  1. Wet
  2. Lather
  3. Scrub 
  4. Rinse 
  5. Dry 

The four principles of handwashing are:

  • Wash your hands when they are dirty and before you eat (of feed a child)
  • Do not cough into hands 
  • Do not sneeze into hands 
  • Do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose, or mouth 

So why do we need to wash our hands? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing can prevent one in three diarrhea-related illnesses and one in five infections, including the flu. 

The CDC also reports that only 31% of men and 65% of women wash their hands after using a public restroom. 

A typical human sneeze exits the body at about 200 miles per hour and emits around 40,000 droplets into the air. 

Thinks of how many things you touch during an average day. Now imagine how many of those things were touched by other people’s hands. Yuck! Remember to wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. 

Central Counties Health Center, Children's Health, Flu Season, Healthy Lifestyle, Jacksonville Illinois, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Flu season is approaching!

Believe it or not, flu season is approaching so it’s time to book your child’s flu shot. At Central Counties Health Centers, we are expecting to begin administering flu shots to children by the end of September. 

Children younger than five years of age – especially those younger than two years old – are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. The flu vaccine offers the best defense against getting flu and spreading it to others. Getting vaccinated can reduce flu illness, visits to the doctor, missed work and school days, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. 

The flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Complications from the flu among children under five years of age can include pneumonia, dehydration, worsening long-term medical problems such as heart disease and asthma, brain dysfunction, sinus problems, and ear infections, and in rare cases, it can lead to death. The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age or older get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October. 

Flu vaccines are updated each season as necessary to protect against influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common. Immunity from the flu vaccination sets in after about two weeks. 

We encourage all adults to utilize Schnucks pharmacy for their flu vaccine. 

If you have any questions about the flu vaccine, please speak with your health care provider. 

Flu Season, Springfield Illinois, Taylorville Illinois

Flu season isn’t over yet!

We don’t yet know if flu season has peaked. There’s still time to get the flu shot if you are at risk. Everyone six months or older should get vaccinated. Furthermore, the CDC recommends that children under two and individuals with medical conditions should also get a pneumococcal vaccination to prevent pneumonia. 

If you get the flu you’ll know about it. Flu symptoms are much worse than the common cold. They come on suddenly, whereas cold symptoms are gradual. If you have flu you can expect a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills, and aching muscles. If you suspect that you have the flu call your healthcare provider as they may want to prescribe antiviral drugs to help reduce the severity and duration of your illness. 

If you are still planning on getting a flu shot do so sooner rather than later because it takes 10 to 14 days for your body to develop immunity. Getting the flu shot doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the flu but if you do it may lessen the severity of your illness. 

In addition to getting vaccinated, there are measures you can take to limit exposure to the virus. Flu germs spread when people who are sick don’t cover their mouth and nose when they sneeze and cough. If you use a tissue make sure you dispose of it quickly and wash your hands. If there is no tissue use the crook of your elbow. 

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Flu germs can live for two to eight hours on hard services, which is why the illness can spread so easily. Wash your hands regularly and teach your children to do the same. The most effective way to wash your hands is run them under warm water, add soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry. It’s important to wash your hands every time you use the bathroom, before you eat, and when you arrive home.

If family or friends have symptoms stay away until they are back to full health. If someone in your immediate family is sick keep them home, limit close contact, change sleeping arrangements if necessary, and avoid sharing washcloths, towels, dishes, toys, and utensils. Most people remain contagious up to a week after their first symptoms. 

Clean frequently to avoid the spread of germs. Disinfect (or throw away) kitchen sponges and dishcloths, and regularly clean cutting boards, surfaces, floors, sinks, and toilets. 

In addition to the above, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of fluids, exercise regularly and manage your stress. 

Flu Season, Springfield Illinois, Uncategorized

Flu shots available now

Fall is fast approaching and that means flu season is right around the corner. The best protection against the virus is to get the flu shot.

Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination is vital for those at high risk of serious complications from the flu. The most common complication from the flu is a bacterial infection of the lungs or bacterial pneumonia. This happens because the flu virus damages the lungs and causes inflammation, which then makes it easier for bacteria to invade the lungs and cause serious infection. Sepsis is another complication that can occur when the body overreacts to an infection. Sepsis can affect multiple organ systems and can lead to organ failure, which is fatal.

Although the flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick it does reduce your chances of getting the flu and if you do get sick it may be less severe.

As well as getting your flu shot, ideally before the end of October, take precautions to avoid exposure to the flu virus such as washing your hands frequently and staying away from people who are sick. Children six months through eight years who require two doses should receive their first dose of the flu shot as soon as possible to allow the second dose to be received by the end of October.

It is important to stay home if you have flu-like symptoms until at least 24 hours after the fever has gone. Flu-like symptoms include s a fever, body aches, and tiredness.

Flu vaccines are now available at all Central Counties Health Centers locations so call and book your appointment today.