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Health

Flu Season is Approaching: Steps to Take to Avoid the Flu

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Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
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Flu season is approaching and with students getting ready to go back to school getting vaccinated and taking the proper precautions to protect from the flu in crucial. 

The flu is a viral respiratory illness which, if left untreated, can cause serious illness and in extreme cases death.  Organizations like the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation provide their employees with flu shots in order to decrease the risk of contracting the virus.  This is to protect the patients and visitors that come in during flu season. 

Nurse epidemiologist at the Department of Health and Social Services Donna Fearey says Alaska can see flu activity all year round.  However, the flu season in Alaska doesn’t really start until the winter months, which means people should prepare ahead of time.  She says the best thing a person can do to fight the flu is get the vaccine shot.

“Well for sure the single best way to fight against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. But in addition to that, we always recommend folks practice good respiratory hygiene. We talk about covering your cough when you have a respiratory illness, washing your hands frequently, keeping your hands away from face so you don’t transmit the virus.”

Fearey says the flu vaccine will be available at the beginning of fall at public health centers around the state.  She stresses the importance of people with high risk factors getting the vaccine.

“We know that infants and the elderly are high risk, but honestly, folks with chronic medical conditions are also vulnerable. Pregnant women are at really high risk for poor outcomes with influenza or complications with influenza. So those populations we recommend get vaccinated.”

However, Fearey says, healthy people that don’t fit any of those categories can still be hit hard by the virus. 

The month of August is National Immunization Awareness Month which means public health centers and other organizations are offering to waive all immunization administration fees for state-provided vaccines this month.