Wichita Falls, Texas- The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District has received notification and confirmation of both the flu and flu like illnesses throughout Wichita County. The Health District is highly encouraging everyone who has not received the flu vaccine this season to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
The Health District has received a number of phone calls, since the CDC Health Advisory was released on December 3rd, asking if the flu vaccine was ineffective for this flu season. This year's flu vaccine, Quadrivalent Influenza, is effective and covers 4 strains of influenza subtypes: two of the A and two of the B strains. One of the strains of A, covered in the vaccine, has "drifted" from its original form causing that part of the vaccine not to be as effective.
If someone received this season's quadrivalent vaccine and comes in contact with the drifted strain, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states the symptoms should be less severe. Everyone aged 6 months and up should receive a flu vaccination unless contraindicated (a symptom or condition that makes a treatment or procedure inadvisable). Pregnant women must have a prescription from their health providers to receive a vaccination this year. In addition to a flu vaccination the Health District recommends the following personal protective actions:
1. If you are sick, stay home. This protects other and allows you to rest.
2. Wash hands often with soap and water
3. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
4. Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Cover the mouth and nose with the bend of your elbow or with a
5. During flu season do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you have just washed or sanitized your hands.
6. Disinfect solid surfaces at home and work often: door knobs, phones, tablets, computer keyboards, desk tops, TV remotes, steering wheel…etc. Use disinfecting wipes, non-alcohol based cleaners or the following mixture and instructions provided by the CDC:
1. Add 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart (4 cups) of water. For a larger supply of disinfectant, add ¼ cup of bleach to 1 gallon (16 cups) of water.
2. Apply the solution to the surface with a cloth.
3. Let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Rinse the surface with clean water.