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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Public warned of increased flu-like illnesses

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation’s Public Health Division cautioned the public yesterday on the increasing number of influenza or flu-like illnesses.

Division director Margaret T. Aldan said the hospital is seeing an increase in the number of these cases and that the flu season may likely continue for weeks.

In a statement yesterday, Aldan “advises the general public that…flu activity is widespread in most of the islands around this time of the year. High levels of flu activity are likely to continue for several more weeks. If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now.”

The flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect people from contracting flu and its potentially serious complications, she said.

“When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself, your loved ones and others in your community. This is especially important for people at high risk for complications of influenza, such as those with a weakened immune system, pregnant women, children 6 months to 5 years old and adults 65 years and older,” said Aldan.

She highly recommends for the public to follow the guidelines for seasonal flu immunization. Other than getting the flu shot, wash your hands for 20 seconds, avoid the sick, teach about the flu, cover your cough, and have a plan when there’s an outbreak of influenza.

If already sick with the flu, she advised patients to contact their healthcare provider before visiting the clinic for advice. “By doing this, it will help avoid exposing other people at the clinics.”

According to Hospital Emergency Preparedness director Warren Villagomez yesterday, the “corporation has enough stock of vaccines” that it can administer to community members.

The total number of these available doses was not immediately available when asked by Saipan Tribune yesterday.

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