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Vaccinations can prevent the spread of the flu virus. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine. Source:

Preparation is key for flu season

Nov. 1, 2016

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

As time gets closer to the holidays, it also marks the start of flu season. Kamehameha Schools’ Mālama Ola director, Dr. Kenny Fink, would like to take a moment to remind KS staff, students and families about steps that can be taken to prevent infection with and spread of the influenza virus.

Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Unlike other viral respiratory infections, the serious cases of the flu can result in hospitalization or death. Certain segments of the population including the elderly, young keiki and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older,” shares Fink.

“The CDC did not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine this season, so only injectable vaccines are available.”

Other preventive measures include:

  1. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  2. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
  3. Cover your cough.
  4. Stay home if you are sick.

With the start of flu season, a number of pop-up clinics are being organized. But, if the dates or locations of clinics aren’t convenient, there are other ways to obtain the vaccine. 

“Many pharmacies and clinics can provide a vaccination, and it is covered by medical insurance,” shared KS Benefits Manager Albert Vanderhoeven. 

“HMSA members should check with their local pharmacy.  Kaiser members can visit one of the Kaiser locations.”

The CDC has compiled a list of key flu facts including signs and symptoms of the flu, people at high risk from flu and how to treat flu illness. The CDC has additional resources on good health habits that can help the spread of germs and how to cover your cough to prevent the spread of the flu.

Visit the CDC website for more information on flu season and flu vaccine.

Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Image courtesy of the CDC.

Seniors and young children are among the high risk populations for serious flu complications.

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