Last updated: January 02. 2014 9:53AM - 912 Views
Jason Angus Reporter jangus@civitasmedia.com

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As reports of the influenza virus begin to rise, Jackson County Health Department advises how to prevent getting the bug.

“Hand washing is absolutely necessary, especially after being out in public,” said Janene Atchley, R.N. District Nurse Manager at JCHD. “It sounds like a simple thing, but you touch so many objects in public from shopping carts to phones and surfaces, and then you touch your face and that’s how it enters.”

Atchley reminded that people should use “cough etiquette” by coughing or sneezing into one’s sleeve rather in their hands. “Bacteria won’t live as long in someone’s sleeve as it does in the air. And if you’re sick, stay home.”

JCHD also advises anyone six months and older receive the influenza vaccination.

Those who have a weakened immune system are the most susceptible, Atchley stated, including people with chronic illnesses and of the elderly population.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health influenza surveillance system reported 54 hospitalizations since October 1.

Typically there is a rise of the flu in October and November and then declines depending on the strain, only to rise again in January and February.

JCHD gets weekly reports from the influenza surveillance system at www.ok.gov/health, and so far has not had any recent reports of influenza related hospitalizations in Jackson County.

For general flu questions contact Jackson County Health Department at at (580) 482-7308.

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