Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital | Healthy Yakima | Winter 2017

IN Yakima County, people tend to come down with the flu in late December or early January, but it can come sooner. Usually winter weather and freezing temperatures don’t have anything to do with an increase in illness. Outbreaks occur in winter because it takes about a year for people to develop an immunity to a flu strain, and for it to mutate and come back around again. So just what is the flu? The flu and the common cold are both viral respiratory illnesses. Flu symptoms (fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough) are more intense. Symptoms usually last two to seven days. Cold symptoms are usually milder and more likely to include a runny or stuffy nose. If you get the flu, it can lead to secondary infections and even to bacterial pneumonia. Who should be vaccinated? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone 6 months of age or older be vaccinated. It is particularly important for people at risk of developing complications (such as pneumonia)—pregnant women, seniors and people who have certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease—and for the caregivers of these people and of children younger than 6 months. You can easily find a flu shot clinic in the community. Shots are available at many drugstores, Target, Costco and, of course, your primary care physician’s office and other health clinics. How to not spread the flu ●    ● Don’t touch that: Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to keep germs out of your body. ●    ● Keep it to yourself: Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your shoulder. Don’t share drinks. ●    ● Wash your hands often: Use warm water and soap or use alcohol-based sanitizers. Remember, the No. 1 mistake people make during flu season is not getting the shot! CARE AT YOUR CONVENIENCE Virginia Mason Memorial’s three Healthy Now clinics—West Valley, Creekside and Terrace Heights—offer convenient, same-day care. Healthy Now accepts most insurance carriers. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week (only West Valley is open Sundays). To get a place in line, go to healthynowclinic.com . The flu and you / Healthy Yakima. / yakimamemorial.org