What is influenza?
Seasonal influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Infection can lead to mild to severe illness, and even death. Some people, including the elderly, young children, and those who are immunocompromised or have certain health conditions, are more vulnerable to severe complications. The best way to prevent influenza each year is by getting vaccinated. The Riley County Health Department supports our vision of Healthy People in a Healthy Community by providing flu shots to the public. For more information about scheduling an appointment contact the clinic. For information regarding outreach events where flu shots are administered, see the "Flu Clinic" tab below. For more information about the flu, including signs and symptoms of illness, view the seasonal influenza fact sheet (pdf).
Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease that can be serious. Every year, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu. The Riley County Health Department urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from flu.
1. Get yourself and your family vaccinated!
A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. The Riley County Health Department recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart. Learn more about vaccine timing.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools. Riley County Health Department offers several outreach flu vaccine clinics with a large majority in the month of October. See "Flu Clinic" tab for dates, times, and locations.
Protect Yourself. Protect Your Family. Get Vaccinated.
2. Take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of flu viruses!
Persons confirmed to have influenza are required to stay home for seven days following onset of symptoms per Kansas regulation. According to CDC, persons with influenza are considered infectious for 5-7 days after becoming sick.
Avoid close contact with sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often (with soap and water), and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu viruses. The flu virus can "live" on some surfaces for up to 48 hours.
If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw tissues in the trash after you use them. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before resuming normal activities.)
3. Take Antiviral Drugs if Your Doctor Prescribes Them!
If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness.
Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
Flu Vaccine Available at the Riley County Health Department - 2018-2019 Flu Season
A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The Riley County Health Department recommends everyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exception, get their flu vaccine before the end of October, if possible. Please keep in mind, it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.
Both trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccine will be available at the Riley County Health Department. The flu vaccines we carry is inactivated, preservative free (no mercury), and given in the muscle.
Due to funding limitations that would not make flu mist available to the entire community, the health department will not offer flu mist during the 2019-2020 flu season. Only flu shots are available this year at the health department.
Expert researchers recommend healthcare providers give age-appropriate flu vaccine to help protect the public from the flu.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts studies to measure the benefits of seasonal flu vaccination to help determine how well the vaccines are working. Read more about how effective the vaccine has been in the past on the CDC's website, and see how effective the vaccine was during the 2018-2019 flu season.
- Providers may offer flu mist to families. Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Community on Immunization Practices.
Public Health Impacts of Flu Vaccination
- Receiving the vaccine helps keep community members from getting flu, including family, friends and co-workers
- Receiving the flu vaccine makes illness less severe if a person gets the flu
Seasonal influenza (flu) is not a reportable disease in Kansas, and because of this, tracking rates of illness and the burden of illness in Riley County is difficult. The Riley County Health Department uses syndromic surveillance to monitor influenza-like-illness (ILI) - a combination of symptoms related to having the flu - throughout the county. The charts below show information on influenza-like-illness (ILI) in Riley County residents during flu season. The flu season typically lasts late September - May. RCHD collaborates with the Kansas Department of Health & Environment's (KDHE) Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics and partners statewide to monitor trends and share information on preventing flu and responding to illness. Statewide influenza data, similar to the data below, can be found on KDHE's influenza surveillance webpage.
Emergency Department Influenza Surveillance
These charts will be updated on a weekly basis throughout flu season, which runs September - May.
Data included in this section was collected and analyzed by Riley County Health Department personnel in collaboration with the Kansas Syndromic Surveillance Program and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment - Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics.
This publication was supported by the Grant or Cooperative Agreement Number, NU90TP921936, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services