Influenza Preparedness (October, 2010)

As we face another influenza season, the Bureau of Clinical Services would like to provide information to help providers prepare for this challenge and provide strategies for preventing the spread of influenza.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can cause mild to severe illness. Influenza usually comes on suddenly. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Individuals who experience symptoms of influenza should seek medical attention.

Influenza Vaccination

It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that all persons 6 months of age and older receive a seasonal influenza vaccination. Provider agencies should coordinate with local health departments to ensure that agency staff and persons served have the opportunity to receive an influenza vaccination. Individuals with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk for complications from influenza. Ensuring that this group of individuals and the staff that work with them have been vaccinated is vital to maintaining the health of everyone.

Preventing the Spread of Influenza

Cover-cover-cover your cough or sneeze, utilize appropriate personal protective devices (mask, gown, etc.) for staff who are caring for an individual who has influenza.

Clean and wash hands frequently with soap and water, ensure that environmental cleaning policies are adequate to decontaminate frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Contain- ensure that staff are aware of current infection control practices within the facility, the CDC recommends individuals sick with influenza like illness stay home until there has been no fever for 24 hours so they do not expose others to the virus.

For more information regarding influenza please contact your local health department, or visit the following websites for guidelines and updates as the 2010-2011 influenza season progresses: