Important Influenza Information

  • Fall signals the start of school but can also signal the start of “flu” season. Handwashing and staying home when ill with influenza type symptoms are important prevention measures but getting vaccine is the best way to prevent getting and spreading influenza.

    Benefits of flu vaccine according to the CDC. (Centers for Disease Control and benefits of flu vaccine)

    • Can keep you from getting sick with flu.
    • Can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.
    • Is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
    • Protects women during and after pregnancy
    • Can be lifesaving in children.
    • Shown to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
    • You getting the vaccine then protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

    Who should get the flu vaccine?

    Everyone over the age of 6 months. Centers for Disease Control and who should get flu vaccine

    Where and when to get the flu vaccine:

    Adults and children can get the vaccine now in Missoula and CDC recommends getting vaccine early in the fall.

    • Most pharmacies have it in stock, adults can obtain vaccine there and depending upon insurance, children 12 and older might be able to get it at a pharmacy.
    • Your child’s health care provider may also do; call and ask about a nurse only visit to get the vaccine.
    • Missoula City County Health Department located at 301 W. Alder has walk in hours for all vaccines for all ages from 9-4:30 daily except 10-4:30 on Wednesdays.

    Symptoms of the flu:

    Symptoms are more severe than a “cold” and usually people quickly feel sick with a fever and body aches as well as other symptoms. It is not always possible to know from symptoms what you or your child has and you may want to consider calling your health care provider to discuss a lab test and treatment.  Centers for Disease Control and Flu versus Cold symptoms

    What to do if your child gets the flu or may have the flu?

    • Tell the school as it helps to understand the health of our school community.
    • Keep your child home while they have symptoms. This is often 5-7 days with influenza.
    • Call your child’s health care provider to:
      • Discuss obtaining antiviral medications in the first 48 hours of symptoms.
      • If you are concerned that your child is getting worse or not improving especially if they have a chronic illness such as asthma.