by Shila R Wachtel, RN, BSN and Patient Educator for Orcas Family Health Center
We, in staff at the clinic, have seen a number of patients with influenza over the last two months. This includes symptoms: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than in adults, although can accompany all other symptoms.
Health Officer of San Juan County Dr. Frank James reported on Jan. 11, 2018: “While flu cases are on the rise in San Juan County, we are not currently seeing the levels reported in the state and region. … However, we can reasonably expect our county to begin seeing an increase in flu cases now that the flu is active in the region. … The influenza vaccine this year appears to be significantly less effective, especially against the most common circulating virus; however, vaccination is still one important way to protect against infection — especially for those with an elevated risk of complications, hospitalization and death.”
Orcas Family Health Center staff believe everyone should be vaccinated for influenza to protect themselves and loved ones as well as others in our community. And, it is not too late to get vaccinated. The state of Washington and San Juan County have seen a number of influenza cases, however, the illness has not peaked in our region or state. So, this means it is still a good time to get vaccinated against influenza. Some places within Washington state and our county do not have the influenza vaccine available as they have exhausted their limited supply. Orcas Family Health Center has the flu vaccine available for those older than 4 and younger than 65. It also has a limited supply of high-dose flu vaccinations available for those with qualifying illnesses (those people will need to schedule a provider visit to determine necessity).
Call Orcas Family Health Center at 360-376-7778 if you want to learn more about the flu vaccination.