Over the last month there has been a steady increase in cases of influenza on the island of Guam and during the last several weeks many cases of influenza have been seen within the school system. One of the primary places that influenza spreads in the community is in the school setting. For this reason it is very important that parents, teachers, school administrators and health professionals all cooperate to keep children and adults with influenza symptoms at home until they are no longer able to pass the virus at school or work. Influenza symptoms include: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, chills, and body aches. Individuals with these symptoms should not return to school or work until their illness is over.

DPHSS also encourages all residents to protect themselves and their loved ones during the influenza (flu) season by following these Flu Prevention Tips:

1. Get vaccinated.
• A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
• Vaccination is especially important for protecting those at high risk for serious flu complications, including: young children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.

2. Stop the spread.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands often.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

3. Take medicine.
• Use medication as recommended by your doctor to treat the flu.

All health care providers are urged to review and update the immunization status of all patients they see. If vaccination is contraindicated because of illness, a follow-up appointment should be scheduled to update vaccination as soon as the illness is over.

For more information, please call your primary health care provider or the Department of Public Health and Social Services’ Immunization Program at 735-7143.

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