You Can Help Reduce The Spread Of Influenza

Fox Valley Health Leaders To Community: You Can Help Reduce The Spread Of Influenza

Get Vaccinated, Wash Hands, Stay Home if Feeling Ill

Fox Cities, Wis. – January 19, 2018 – As flu activity increases in the region, Fox Valley health leaders, including Ascension Wisconsin, ThedaCare and the Appleton Health Department are asking the public to help reduce the spread of influenza by taking proactive measures to protect the community.

“We ask that you be mindful of where you go in the community,” said Vicky Barnthouse, chief nursing executive for ThedaCare. “The flu can cause serious complications and even death, especially in the very young, the elderly and those with existing medical conditions. If you aren’t feeling well, please be thoughtful where you visit or shop or travel, to help reduce the risk of spreading the influenza virus.”

The health leaders encourage everyone to wash their hands. Anyone with respiratory symptoms or with a fever, cough, sore throat or who feel fatigued is encouraged to stay home.

“How hard the flu hits our community can be influenced by the actions we all take each day. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention encourages preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, like influenza, which include avoiding close contact with sick people, limiting your contact with others as much as possible while sick and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze,” explained Heather Schimmers, vice president of patient care services, Ascension NE Wisconsin St. Elizabeth Hospital. “It is not too late to get your flu vaccine, which is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Together we can help to reduce the spread of influenza.”

Getting vaccinated and washing your hands are easy ways to fight the illness. “Did you know it takes at least 15 seconds of friction with soap or alcohol-based sanitizers to kill the flu virus? And if the virus isn’t on your hands, it’s less likely to make it into your mouth, nose or eyes where it can enter your body and cause infection. Other simple tips to staying healthy include getting enough rest, eating right, and covering your cough (and teach your children to do the same),” said Barnthouse.

“So far this season, influenza A, H3N2, has been the most common form of influenza,” shared Kurt Eggebrecht, health officer, Appleton Health Department. “These viruses are often linked to more severe illness, especially among children and people age 65 and older. We appreciate the extra precautions to protect those who are too young to receive the vaccine.”

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About Ascension Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Ascension operates 24 hospitals and hundreds of related healthcare facilities that together employ more than 19,600 associates. Across the state, Ascension provided more than $295 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2017. Serving Wisconsin for 170 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.ascension.org/wisconsin.

About ThedaCare

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 32 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.