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The holidays bring the flu to nursing homes


Residents in long term care facilities across the state are being impacted by influenza outbreaks.

Levi Schlosser, influenza coordinator for HHS, says so far this year they received reports of at least 10 influenza related outbreaks in long term care facilities.

"Influenza can be a very serious disease, particularly for those who are more at risk for complications due to influenza, including those who are 65 years or older, those with chronic medical conditions, and so, influenza and be quite severe when it reaches or circulates in long term care settings."

Schlosser encourages people to take precautions against the spread of the flu, especially around the holidays.

"The holidays do have an increased risk. Individuals are more likely to gather or to congregate, there might be increased visitation with family members that reside in our congregate living facilities, and so all of these factors can lead to the increased risk for the spread of influenza, especially in those who are more at risk for complications. That's why the influenza vaccine is the best tool we have to protect against flu, especially this time of year when people are more likely to gather."

Schlosser also recommends staying home if you feel sick, making sure you cover your cough or sneeze, and practicing good hand hygiene.