Lab-confirmed cases of the flu in Butte County continue to be reported as widespread flu activity grows across the State. According to the Center for Disease Control, this year’s flu vaccine is considered well matched to current flu strains and may reduce your risk of illness, hospitalization, and death. As we head into the beginning of peak flu season, which can continue until May, residents are encouraged to protect themselves and their family by getting vaccinated.

A free flu vaccination clinic will be offered by the Butte County Public Health Department on Thursday, January 12th, from 1:00-4:00 pm at 202 Mira Loma Drive in Oroville. No appointments are necessary. Vaccines are available for people 3 years of age and older, including pregnant women.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. Those who have severe flu like symptoms should contact their health care provider right away. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over. Likewise, keep sick children home from school according to the school’s sick child policy (typically for 24 hours after your child no longer has symptoms, especially a fever).

“In addition to the flu, we know there are other upper respiratory viruses circulating in the community. Preventative measures are the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe from getting the flu and other viruses,” said Butte County Public Health, Health Officer Dr.Andy Miller.

Everyone is at risk for getting the flu, however, the young, the old and those with chronic disease are most at risk for getting sick. In addition to getting a flu shot, residents should take the following precautions:

• Stay home when you are sick

• Cover your cough and sneezes by using the inside corner of your elbow

• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth