With the many cases of influenza, Terra Uhing is urging people who are ill to remain at home.
“The flu hit us about two weeks earlier in Nebraska this year,” said Uhing, executive director of the Three Rivers Public Health Department. “We’ve had more cases than we’ve had in a long, long time.”
Three Rivers covers Dodge, Washington and Saunders counties in eastern Nebraska.
“There is so much flu within the jurisdiction and within the state of Nebraska in general that if you’re sick you need to stay home,” she said.
The office was closed on Christmas Day and Uhing didn’t yet have a count as of Thursday, but there have been many cases. Earlier this month, a report stated there already had been 54 lab-confirmed cases this season.
“It’s still not too late for people to get their flu shots, because that really is one of the best ways to protect yourself against it,” Uhing said.
Those who get a shot can be helping others — such as older friends or people who have immune-compromised systems because they’re battling cancer.
It can even protect pregnant moms and babies under the age of 6 months.
“We get our flu shots to try to keep them all healthy, too,” Uhing said.
She noted something else:
“If you’re not well, stay home, because that ultimately will keep everybody else around you healthier.”
Uhing pointed out an important symptom.
“If you have a fever that’s how you know it’s contagious and it can spread,” she said.
The flu is spread through the air with the droplets that occur when a person sneezes or coughs.
That’s why hand and personal hygiene are so important.
“Make sure you’re washing your hands and you’re covering your mouth when you cough,” she said. “If you use your hand (to cover your mouth when you cough), you need to wash your hand right away.”
Those who develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about their illness, especially if they are at high risk for complications of the flu, should consult their health care provider.
Individuals who haven’t received their flu shot this season should contact their local healthcare provider to check for availability.
Three Rivers still has a supply of vaccine; those interested are asked to contact them at (402) 727-5396.
The Three Rivers office is at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave., in Fremont.
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