Tag Archive for Tri Cities

Flu hits peak levels in Washington State

OLYMPIA — The flu has reached its peak, and 19 lab-confirmed flu deaths have been reported across the state since December. Only lab-confirmed flu deaths are reportable in the state, and many cases aren’t lab tested, so the actual toll of flu is likely higher.

“The flu can be a serious disease,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, interim state health officer. “People of all ages can get very sick. Getting vaccinated is the best protection and can help people avoid severe illness, hospitalization, and even death.”

The virus is widespread in Washington. Most confirmed flu cases across the nation and in our state have been the 2009 H1N1 strain, which is covered by this season’s flu vaccine. A flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older. It’s especially important for people at high risk for complications from flu, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older, and people with certain medical conditions — such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and neurologic conditions.

Nationally, estimates from November showed that less than 40 percent of the population had been vaccinated against flu, leaving a lot of people unprotected. To best protect people and communities from flu, 80 percent or more must be vaccinated — that’s the national goal.

The state health department produced a public service announcement and online ads with Washington families talking about why they get a flu shot and encouraging others to do so. The statewide flu prevention ads will run online, on the radio, and in social media through February. Radio ads will air on stations in the Seattle, Vancouver, Spokane, Yakima, and Tri-Cities areas.

Produced public service announcements and other flu resources and materials can be found on the Department of Health flu news Web pages.

If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine, now is the time. It takes two weeks after vaccination to be protected. We expect flu to circulate in our state for several more weeks. Kids under nine years old may need two doses about a month apart. You can get vaccinated at many locations, including health care provider offices, pharmacies, and some local health agencies. Check the flu vaccine finder to find out where to get flu vaccine in your community.

Many people with flu have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and fatigue. Antiviral medication can help. It must be prescribed by a doctor and it works best if started within two days of getting sick. It’s especially important for persons at high risk for flu complications to start treatment right away.

The Washington State Department of Health buys flu vaccine for all kids through age 18. Kids can get the vaccine from their regular health care provider. Providers may charge an office visit fee and an administration fee to give the vaccine. People who can’t afford the administration fee can ask to have it waived.

The Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Loose mattress on highway causes Tri-Cities crash

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — A mattress and box spring came loose from a pickup truck and hit a car Sunday on Highway 240 at the Tri-Cities…. …read more

From: AP Washington News

    

Tri-Cities group studies small reactor at Hanford

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) — A Tri-Cities group is studying the possible benefits of building a small modular nuclear reactor system at the Hanford nuclear reservation…. …read more

From: AP Washington News

    

Avoid the gift that no one wants, the flu

The flu is highly contagious and can make even healthy people very sick. Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone six months and older. It’s especially important for people at high-risk – such as young kids; people 65 and older; pregnant women; and people with chronic conditions, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and neurologic conditions. Babies under six months are too young to get vaccinated. People in close contact with babies should get vaccinated to protect the infants.

Some kids under nine may need two doses about a month apart. All recommended immunizations, including flu vaccines, are given at no cost for all kids in our state through age 18. Most health plans cover flu vaccinations for adults. For more resources call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

Flu vaccines are available at many locations including health care professional’s offices, pharmacies, and some local health agencies. Check the flu vaccine finder to find out where to get flu vaccine in your community.

Don’t let the flu spoil your holiday plans. Get vaccinated now to help protect you, your loved ones, and your community through the holidays and the rest of flu season. Watch our flu video with Washington families talking about why they get vaccinated each year. It also features Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

The Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.