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Health Division

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Johnson County Influenza Surveillance Reports

Kansas regulations do not require health care providers to notify the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment when a patient is diagnosed with influenza. Instead influenza activity is voluntarily reported to JCDHE by family practices, emergency departments, student health centers, pediatric offices and other healthcare providers in Johnson County. Providers may use this form to report their influenza activity to JCDHE.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) also provides weekly influenza surveillance reports for the state of Kansas and the Kansas Influenza Surveillance 2018-2019 report. 

If you need reports from previous years, please send your request in an email to jcdhe@jocogov.org.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (commonly called the “flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The information below describes common flu symptoms, how to protect yourself and those close to you from getting the flu, and what to do if you get sick with flu-like symptoms.

People May Have Different Reactions to the Flu
The flu can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Although most healthy people recover from the flu without complications, some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications from the flu.

Be Aware of Common Flu Symptoms
Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.

Know the Risks from the Flu
In some people, the flu can cause serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children and adults may develop sinus problems and ear infections.

Know How the Flu Spreads
The flu usually spreads from person to person in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. People occasionally may become infected by touching something with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Healthy adults may be able to infect others 1 day before getting symptoms and up to 5 days after getting sick. Therefore, it is possible to give someone the flu before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick.

If you are sick with the flu, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends that you stay home for 5 days or until fever-free without the aid of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. This will prevent the spread of influenza germs to others.

Protection against the Flu
The single best way to protect yourself and others against influenza is to get a flu shot every year.

  • The "flu shot" is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
  • Getting vaccinated by the end of October is recommended, but you can still get vaccinated in December and later. Flu season can begin as early as October and can last as late as springtime.

The following additional measures can help protect against the flu.

Habits for Good Health
These steps may help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—throw the tissue away after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • If you get the flu, stay home from work, school, and social gatherings. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.

Antiviral Medications
There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza. The brand names for these are Tamiflu® (generic name oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name zanamivir), and Rapivab® (generic name peramivir). Tamiflu® is available as a pill or liquid and Relenza® is a powder that is inhaled. (Relenza® is not for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD, for example). Rapivab® (generic name peramivir) is given intravenously by a health care provider. 

What to Do If You Get Sick

Diagnosing the Flu
It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor's exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.

If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult your healthcare provider. Those at high risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and young children.

Other Ways to Respond to the Flu
If you get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Also, you can take medications such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol®) to relieve the fever and muscle aches associated with the flu. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends that you stay home for 5 days or until fever-free without the aid of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Flu Shots

Seasonal flu shots now available 

The best way to protect yourself from getting the flu is to receive the flu shot. The vaccine is safe and effective. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment encourages everyone over the age of 6 months to get the flu shot.

Seasonal flu shots are available for adults and children over the age of 6 months at our immunization walk-in clinics in Olathe and Mission. Most health insurance plans, Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover the cost of the flu vaccine. If you don’t have insurance, a seasonal flu shot costs $30.

JCDHE is a KanCare provider for all managed care organizations: Aetna Better Health of Kansas, Sunflower and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. JCDHE also accepts private insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Cigna, Coventry, Aetna, and UnitedHealthcare. We do not take insurance from Coventry Advantra or Humana Gold Plus. Check your health benefit plan to confirm coverage for payment of services. Cash, check or credit card payment is also accepted for those without insurance or who carry other insurance plans.

JCDHE is a Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provider. The program provides free vaccines to children age 18 and younger with an administration fee. Find out if your child is eligible for the VFC program.

Walk-in immunization clinic hours

  • Monday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Mission - CLOSED
  • Tuesday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday - 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Mission- CLOSED
  • Thursday - 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday - 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; Mission - CLOSED

During high volume times, we may need to temporarily suspend our walk-in immunization service. 

Save yourself time in line

Complete form online BEFORE arriving at the clinic, print it and bring it with you. Check-in online using the QLess mobile app or click on the "Get in Line Now" button on our website.

Vaccine Information Statements (VIS):

Patient Privacy Notice 

Flu Questions

What is the flu shot?

The flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. Flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection from the viruses that are in the vaccine.

The seasonal flu shot protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine. Viruses for the flu shot are grown in eggs.

Who should get a flu shot?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every season. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza:

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

People who live with or care for those at high risk for serious flu complications should get a flu shot every year too:

  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above)
  • Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
  • Healthcare workers

During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.

Who should NOT get a flu shot?

Talk with a doctor before getting a flu vaccine if you:

  • Have a severe allergy to eggs
  • Have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination
  • Children younger than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group)
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated)
  • People with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.

You can get a flu vaccine at the same time you have a respiratory illness without fever or if you have another mild illness.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups. For more information about vaccine effectiveness, visit How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work?

What are the risks of getting a flu vaccine?

The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The risk of a flu shot causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, may rarely cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. Almost all people who get influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it.

What are the side effects that could occur?

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Aches

If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last one to two days. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of influenza infection.

Can severe problems occur?

  • Life-threatening allergic reactions are very rare. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If they do occur, it is within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. These reactions are more likely to occur among persons with a severe allergy to eggs because the viruses used in the influenza vaccine are grown in hens' eggs. People who have had a severe reaction to eggs or to a flu shot in the past should not get a flu shot before seeing a physician.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome: Normally, about one person per 100,000 people per year will develop Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), an illness characterized by fever, nerve damage, and muscle weakness. In 1976, vaccination with the swine flu vaccine was associated with getting GBS. Several studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines since 1976 were associated with GBS. Only one of the studies showed an association. That study suggested that one person out of 1 million vaccinated persons may be at risk of GBS associated with the vaccine.

More facts about the potential side effects of the influenza vaccine.

What should I do if I have had a serious reaction to the influenza vaccine?

  • Call a doctor, or get to a doctor right away
  • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when you got the flu shot
  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)* form, or call VAERS at 1-800-822-7967

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)