Although, Yavapai County is off to a slow start this flu season with only 30 cases, other counties are experiencing a spike in flu activity. Arizona has had 3,354 cases confirmed with a spike occurring the week of Thanksgiving to present. The flu virus circulating in Yavapai County, in most of the early cases reported, has been more of the A/H1N1 strain and more recently the B stain vs. counties with the largest spikes, Mohave with 84% and Coconino with 71% with the B/Victoria strain.
Type A is the most common form of influenza, can spread from animals to humans, and is known to cause pandemics. Type B is like type A as it is also highly contagious and can have dangerous effects on your health in more severe cases. However, Type B can only be spread from human to human and can cause seasonal outbreaks and be transferred throughout the year.
If you suspect you have the flu, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Also allow yourself plenty of sleep so your body can rest and recharge. Sometimes influenza B symptoms improve on their own. However, those who are at high risk for flu complications should seek medical treatment immediately.
High-risk groups include:
- children under 5 years old, especially those younger than 2 years old
- adults 65 years old and up
- women who are pregnant or up to two weeks postpartum
- Native Americans (American Indians and Alaska Natives)
- people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic conditions
Maricopa County recorded its first pediatric flu death earlier this week, a reminder of the importance of vaccination. The child was an infant under 6 months and thus too young to be immunized through vaccination. It is a tragic reminder that anyone who is able to get the flu shot should, not only to protect themselves, but to protect those around them who are most at risk of severe disease and death from the flu.
If your young child has the flu, seek medical treatment before resorting to home treatment. Some medications could increase their risk of complications. If your child has a fever, keep them home for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides without help from medication.
If you need to get a flu vaccine, contact Yavapai County Community Health Services at 771-3122 to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Cottonwood, as well as in Chino Valley on the 4th Friday of each month.