With many parts of the country, including Shasta County, experiencing high flu activity, the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency is urging people to take steps to keep from spreading the illness. State health officials are reporting 27 lab-confirmed flu deaths in 0-64 year-olds statewide so far this flu season, including one person in Shasta County. Local emergency departments are also reporting an increase in patients with flu-like illness.
Those who show flu symptoms (see below) should contact their physician immediately to get testing and effective treatment promptly, if needed, which may include anti-influenza medications like Tamiflu (best within 2 days of symptom onset). Tamiflu can also be used as a preventive measure for people at high risk of flu complications.
Influenza (flu) symptoms include sudden high fever, headache, dry cough, chills and/or severe body aches and fatigue. Colds typically do not have fever, headache or severe body aches. Colds typically do have runny nose, sneezing, and a wet/productive cough, which are uncommon with the flu. In many cases, flu symptoms start suddenly within a few hours. There are also a number of other respiratory viruses circulating in Shasta County now that are not the flu.
To avoid overcrowding emergency departments, it’s recommended patients check with their healthcare provider or an urgent care before going to the ER, and if coughing, wear a mask to the doctor’s office. N95 (preferred) or surgical masks are available at most hardware stores.
Health and Human Services Agency
2615 Breslauer Way Building 5 Redding, CA 96001 (530) 245-6951 FAX (530) 229-8447
It is still a good time to get the flu shot. Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months of age or older, but is particularly important for those at higher risk of severe influenza, including pregnant women, children under five years of age, the elderly, and people with certain underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, asthma and heart disease. Even if flu vaccine effectiveness is limited this year, immunization can reduce illness severity and the likelihood of hospitalization. In addition to getting vaccinated, it's important to practice other good health habits, such as:
• While sick, stay home and limit contact with others • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Visit your health care provider or one of the many retail locations that offer the flu vaccine, including many drug and grocery stores. Vaccine is also available at the HHSA’s clinic on Breslauer Way in Redding during regular immunization clinic hours:
Monday: 8 – 11am and 1 to 4:30pm
Tuesday: 8 to 11am
Wednesday: 8 to 11am and 1 to 4:30pm
Thursday: 4 to 6:30pm
Friday: 8 to 11am
Flu shots from HHSA are $11 each. Cash, check, Medi-Cal and Medicare Part B are accepted (no private insurance). Call 225-5591 or 1-800-971-1999.
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